Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Brass

I am making a trombonist friend of mine a mix tape, and I thought I'd share some of it with you. It's all brass band music, in the widest sense.

Note: not sure where I got all of these. Let me know if I am violating your intellectual property or otherwise being unethical, and I will take down. Listeners, think about buying the albums.
Acid Brass "What Time Is Love?" Version K (mp3) 7 MB
I'm not sure if I've blogged about Acid Brass before, the brainchild of Jeremy Deller, my second favourite contemporary artist, which married together the two quintessential working class arts of the British Northwest, acid house music and the colliery-style brass band (the latter as featured in the lovely movie Brassed Off, which I will blog about some day). Here, Stockport's Williams Fairey Band (a factory band rather than a colliery band), take "What Time is Love" by neo-situationist house pranksters the KLF - a song whose wikipedia page rates as a classic of citizen scholarship. Blog links: Music Like Dirt, cyberinsekt, cubikmusik. Buy Acid Brass.

Goran Bregovic "Get The Money"(mp3) 4 MB
To me, Acid Brass sounds kind of Balkan. Balkan artist Goran Bregovic has featured heavily in the weird films of Emir Kustirica. Sarajevo-born, he is probably one of the former Yugoslavia's biggest exports. Although I prefer him when he tones it down a bit, in "Get the Money", Bregovic brings a kind of punk/ska sensibility, and a hint of Lionel Bart, to the proceedings. The first version of this song was for the Kusturica film Arizona Dreams, and featured the vocals of Iggy Pop. Bregovic did a version without Iggy for the albums Songbook and P.S., but this comes from his Greatest Hits, and I assume that's Goran singing and not Iggy, but am willing to stand corrected! Buy any of these.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band "Ain't nothin but a party" (mp3) 9 MB
Rebirth Brass Band "Do Whatcha Wanna" Part 3 (mp3) 5 MB
New Orleans deep and dirty brass band funk. Dirty Dozen "Ain't Nothin'" from Medicated Magic 2002 (buy). "Do Whatcha" from Mardi Gras Party 1991 (buy). Blog links: Lil Mike 1, 2 and 3, Mainstream Isn't..., Funkjester.

Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra "Indictment" (mp3) 11 MB
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra "I.C.E." (mp3) 16 MB
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra "Si, Se Puede" (mp3) 14 MB
Super intense political pop in the tradition of Fela Kuti, Manu Chao or Ozomatli. Antibalas come from Brooklyn. Lots of their live music is available at the amazing Archive.org. Blog link: Swan Fungus.

MarchFourth Marching Band "Crackhaus" (mp3) 3 MB
MarchFourth Marching Band "YiddishBlues" (mp3) 6 MB
Like Antibalas, MarchFourth (website/myspace), from Portland, Oregan, are heavily influenced by Fela and the Rebirth Brass Band, but these two tracks highlight their more Balkan/Jewish side. "Yiddish Blues" is a 1919 composition of Lieutenant Joseph Frankel, also recorded by early klez-revivalists Klezmer Conservatory Band (featuring Don Byron) and more recently the Czech Prague Klezmerim, the fantastic Shirim Klezmer Orchestra and a German band actually called Yiddish Blues (mp3 of their version). The Frankel song is important and interesting because he came from Kiev, where he was classically trained, and then wound up involved in theatre music in New York. According to Mark Slobin, the song takes "the Mi Shebeyrekh cantorial mode" ["May he who blessed" - a healing prayer] and combines it with a ragtime rhythm, illustrating the crossover between urban immigrant Jewish music and the "Oriental foxtrot" genre dance bands were playing then, and which black bands like Duke Ellington's and Fats Waller's would develop more ambitiously later. Blog links: Guess I'm Floating, SoundRoots. Buy.

Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker "These Boots are Made for Walking" (mp3) 7 MB
1966. Lee Hazlewood's "These Boots..." was a hit for his muse Nancy Sinatra. According to Wikipedia, along with Chet's version, many other versions came out the same year: Hazlewood's own version, The New Christy Minstrels on the album New Kick!, Mrs. Miller on the Mrs. Miller's Greatest Hits, Jane Morgan on the Fresh Flavor and The Supremes on Supremes A' Go-Go. But the Chet Baker version, produced by the great Jack Nitzche, surely stands head and shoulders over most of these. The idea, obviously, was to replicate the commercial success of "musical mensch" Herb Alpert. Unbelievably, Chet churned out no fewer than four albums of this stuff. Info: Ace, and the Chet Baker Tribute site. Blog links: WFMU (also check out Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass - Downtown, The Yellow Rose Of Texas, Never On Sunday, Tsena, Tsena, etc etc), Lil Mike, and Lil Mike again.

Slobodan Salijevic "A Moj Babi" (mp3) 3 MB
I think I must have taken this from SoundRoots, from where I get all the information I know about Salijevic, a Gypsy musician from Prekodolce in Serbia (a town lacking a wikipedia page if there are any Balkan experts out there). Anyway, I thought it followed on well from the Chet Baker/Mariachi brass music, as the band has a nice bittersweet, kitschy feel ot it, above which the lead (presumably Salijevic) soars in a slightly Chet Baker-ish way. Buy Slobodan Salijevic.

A Hawk and a Hacksaw "Ihabibi" (mp3) 6 MB
A Hawk and a Hacksaw are a hipster faux-Balkan band from New Mexico. I disapprove of bands starting their names with the indefinate article, but there you go, at least they're not called something like "Architecture in Helsinki", "Radio 4" or "British Seapower", names of which I very strongly disapprove. I also mildly disapprove of the fact they did the soundtrack for the Slavoj Zizek documentary. On the other hand, I strongly approve of the fact they feature Willie "The Lion" Smith's "Echoes of Spring" on their website. Smith was a black and Jewish god of pre-war jazz. "Echoes of Spring" echoes the European romantic movement's interest in the folk musics of Eastern and Central Europe (thus influencing Duke Ellington's later work in this tradition) and as such has a kinship with klezmer and Balkan music. Anyway, "Ihabibi" is from AHAAH's 2007 collaboration with Budapest's The Hun Hangár Ensemble and sounds, to me, quite klezmerish, like a Romanian doyna.


Previous: 4th of July.


11 comments:

TNC said...

Nice mix, Bob.

Since your friend is a trombonist, I'm sure he's heard of Julian Priester. If you haven't, check him out. Wayne Henderson too.

Graeme said...

I saw AHAAH a year and a bit ago when they toured with the Hun Hangar Ensemble and, as much as I wanted to dislike them for being hipsters, the show was actually really good. I feared that they were going to use the Hun Hangar Ensemble to give them a little bit of Eastern European authenticity that they wouldn't otherwise have as indie rockers from the American southwest, and while there was an element of that, for the most part they seemed to recognise that people should be watching the Hungarians play.

Plus, Jeremy Barnes of AHAAH played drums in Neutral Milk Hotel, who wrote by far the best pop album about the Holocaust ever...not that there's much competition for that title.

max said...

I just got the DVD "My first name is Maceo", it's been recently re-released, it used to be VHS, there's a chunk whith Maceo Parker in New Orleans with Rebirth Brass Band. Absolutely phenomenal DVD and the part with the brass band is pure energy.

By the way, I thought that the Brass Band at Blythe Hill was great, perfect balance of instruments, I spotted you going for an ice cream but was too busy running after my daughter in that moment, I was alone with her that day, so no chance to turn my head, then I didn't spot you again.

bob said...

Wayne Henderson I know and love, and Maceo Parker of course. Julian Priester I've never heard of. Clearly a gap. As is Neutral Milk Hotel.

I hope I didn't seem too dismissive of AHAAH. They may be hipster faux-Balkanites, but they are serious and committed about it, and the music is good.

The brass band at the Blythe Hill festival were great, and not a million miles from Antibalas. I loved their version of that lovely Ethipiques track from the Bill Murray film Broken Flowers. I can't remember their name.

Max, I didn't see you at Blythe Hill. What with Neil from Transpontine on the ukelele and recruiting for Hillaballoo, Richard from Baggage Reclaim morris dancing, and Michael from the Forest Hill Society (also a co-organiser of South London Limmud) selling cupcakes: a whole South London blogging convention! Wulf was there too, but I didn't see him either.

Frank said...

Great stuff.

Brass band music is big across the whole North (that should be the English North, not British) rather than just the Northwest. County Durham is a big brass band centre, and is hosting a massive global brass festival this month. Acid house was more of a northwestern thing: Manchester, Oldham, Stockport, Wigan. The KLF are Scottish though aren't they?

I don't know Goran B, but that doesn't sound like Iggy to me.

bob said...

Thanks Frank. What's going on with here: you bring up Durham just as I am linking to the sweary geordie on Durham and Sunderland's lefties and mentioning Gateshead's Gazza in these comments... And Richard the morris dancer's from that neck of the woods too. Scary.

TNC said...

Here's a bit on Priester:

http://www.otherminds.org/shtml/Priester.shtml

"The career of trombone legend Julian Priester has included contributions to jazz, blues, as well as Latin jazz, over the practically the last half century. Between the early 1950s and through the 1970s, he worked with such notables as Duke Ellington, Herbie Hancock, Sun Ra, McCoy Tyner, Max Roach, Lionel Hampton, Dinah Washington, Muddy Waters, and Bo Diddley."

Check out his "Love, Love" album (ECM Records). I think you'll dig it. He also plays on Herbie Hancock's "Crossing," "Mwandishi," and "Sextant."

bob said...

Thanks TNC.

By the way, if anyone knows what the "Tonka" in the Acid House diagram above (between Spiral Tribe and warehouse parties) is, I'd be grateful to know, as that's another gap in my cultural knowledge. (I'm guessing it's the sort of thing Comrade Transpontine [History is made at night] would know).

bob said...

I wrote a little bit more on Willie The Lion's Jewishness in a comment at Shiraz jazz

Transpontine said...

Excellent. I love that Jeremy Dellar acid house/brass bands map, in fact I've written an article for Datacide zine (due out some time soon) stuctured around it. Dellar has a South London connection, though not a very streed cred one - he went to Dulwich College! Still he is forgiven, first thing I saw by him was this Manic Street Preachers exhibition at the South London Gallery. Tonka was a sound system wasn't it? - not sure where though.

fleshisgrass said...

Yikes what an unremitting racket :-)