Ah, September in New Hampshire! The fall is always a time to think back on the sublime beauty of the summer and curse the Lovecraftian winter that awaits. And for those of you not from New England… go read “The Dunwich Horror,” that’s basically what’s it’s like all the time here, minus the fun.
So as we prepare to batten down the hatches and evade fish-people, my thoughts turn to the sounds that will carry me through to the spring (which, in typical Northeast amnesiac fashion, does not even exist in our minds until the first buds appear on the trees, when we suddenly remember that there is some state other than “frickin’ cold”).
Here are a few of our releases that I plan to revisit this fall, and I suggest you do the same:
PHANTASM / Eric Honour (Ravello Records)
In keeping with the spookiness of the upcoming season, I’m planning on blasting this one on Halloween night to scare the holy hell out of the neighborhood kids. But for me, listening is sheer pleasure – Honour’s deft touch at creating entire sonic worlds out of thin air is on full display here, and his prowess as an instrumentalist is inspirational. One of the most passionate advocates for new music out there.
LYRIC IMAGES / Alan Schmitz (Ravello Records)
Alan’s excellent album with guitarist Todd Seelye is a re-release from the Capstone Records catalog (Capstone was acquired by PARMA back in ’09). I’m a sucker for guitar music, and Todd brings a great interpretative depth to Alan’s work, which is already full of nuance and grace. New guitar music is often either too oblique and opaque or too saccharine and sweet, but Alan consistently finds a comfortable middle ground while exploring the outer edges.
STANDING ON CHAIRS / Allen Savedoff (Big Round)
One of my absolute favorite pieces from the PARMA catalog, and one deserving of many spins at all hours of the day. An incredibly fun record, but don’t let the levity fool you – these are serious chops, serious musicians, and real music. Who else has the guts to arrange “What Is Hip?” for contrabassoon? This guy deserves a statue. Featuring Chad Wackerman, Lee Thornburg, Ken Wild, and many more.
MARIKA GROOVE / Mika Yoshida (Big Round)
Mika Yoshida, Richard Stoltzman, Steve Gadd, Eddie Gomez in a world premiere by Chick Corea. And you haven’t heard this yet? Seriously? This is history-making stuff here, new music by one of the all-time jazz greats featuring a star-studded lineup from all corners of the musical world. There are artists who have had entire careers without as much interesting material as there is in this one composition. A must-hear for jazz and classical lovers alike.
DEMOCRACY / Barry Seroff (Ravello Records)
This is my kind of music. Classical, jazz, prog-rock, hardcore punk, avant-garde, you name it and Seroff has rolled it into the musical dough. Barry’s stuff is engaging and direct but challenging even for the most esoteric listeners. Approach with care and diligence and you’ll be rewarded… it took me a couple of pre-5 AM/post-coffee listens to grasp it all, and I’m hooked. Not for the faint of heart, but if you’re reading this then that shouldn’t be an issue.
There’s a lot of great music out there and in future blogs I’ll highlight some stuff from outside the PARMA catalog that I hope you’ll enjoy. But in the meantime, dig these releases, bid the summer goodbye, and whatever you do, please do not mate with anything aquatic.
CEO, PARMA Recordings