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Recorded by Todd Carter May 15th, 2011, live at the Hungry Brain, Chicago.

It was with great sadness that I heard of John Tchicai’s passing in October of 2012. I’d been familiar with his music since the early 1990’s, when as a high school saxophonist I first heard him on recordings with John Coltrane, Archie Shepp, Albert Ayler, and Don Cherry that truly changed my own life path. But it wasn’t until the spring of 2008 that I actually heard him in person, and had the opportunity to get to know him more personally. 

At that time, I had just left for my first tour of Europe leading one of my own bands, the Rempis Percussion Quartet, on a double bill tour with Mike Reed’s band Loose Assembly. Our first concert was in Hasselt, Belgium at Kunstcentrum Belgie – one of my favorite venues in Europe. As I didn’t have all of the details about the trip until we arrived, I didn’t realize that evening’s concert would be a triple bill with a band led by John until we walked into the soundcheck, and I heard that incredibly personal sound that I knew from so many different records. The experience was similar to seeing a famous painting or statue in person…some sense of disbelief that this presence could actually exist before you. 

Also at that time, Mike and I were helping to organize the Umbrella Music Festival in Chicago, and had been searching for someone special to feature that year. Having not heard John in recent years, I didn’t know what to expect from the concert. The brief soundcheck was great, but maybe he wasn’t playing as well as he used to – many musicians don’t meet expectations after decades of work. As the concert began, Mike and I stood across the bar from each other. After twenty minutes our eyes met. Nothing needed to be said. 

After the concert John and I talked a bit, particularly about the incredible record John made with Johnny Dyani – “Witchdoctor’s Son” - one of my favorite recordings. (The front line of John and Dudu Pukwana on that record is one of the great alto pairings of all time…) His calm and gentle presence, warm eyes, and deep laugh as he described how “energetic” those particular South African musicians had been (perhaps an understatement based on other anecdotes about Pukwana….) made a perfect match for the gorgeously honest and understated saxophone sound I knew so well. 

So it was a huge pleasure when John accepted our invitation to come to Chicago that fall. That visit would be the first of two that John made to Chicago in his last few years – once for the festival, and once as a guest of this working quartet. Both times he made an impression on musicians and audiences here that still resonates.
As you can hear on this recording, the expressive strength of John’s sound endures - the tender, searching, bittersweet, yet playful lilt of his phrasing; the tart crispness of his tone; the meandering yet purposeful sense of pitch. All of these were a part of the vision that enabled him to stand up to the sheer force of players like Coltrane, Ayler, and Shepp; not by out-muscling them, but by presenting a completely different idea of what was possible on the instrument. A conception unique enough that although it wasn’t about force or power, it carved out a space in the music that was strong enough to create its own gravitational field. 

This uncompromised sense of self in the presence of some of the most compelling artistic visions of the last century is what will keep John’s own vision alive for many years to come. That vision stands unflinchingly, shoulder to shoulder amongst his peers, and his presence in the music, and among the musicians, will be greatly missed. 

Regular Price: $18.95
On Sale For: $9.48 

Singularly gifted drummer/composer Mike Pride is prolifically active as a leader/accompanist in a wide variety of groups and genres: metal, noise, avant-garde rock, free music, and modern jazz. This May, AUM Fidelity presents two of the most profound and potent albums he has created to date. The 33-minute maximum intensity transformative epic Drummer’s Corpse was recorded within the same month as the diametrically opposed (in concept, content, and title) Birthing Days, and no pair of records better represent his multifarious artistic nature. Their simultaneous release is a major artistic statement from Mike Pride; together, they musically reflect the dichotomy of life itself. The other composition included here, “Some Will Die Animals,” is composed of a serialized tone row for double bass and a graphic score for guitar, bass drums, and tom-toms, and is dedicated to his late friend Gen Makino.

“Drummer Mike Pride has epitomized versatility for much of his highly prolific career thus far. With an almost unparalleled work ethic, great technical proficiency, and a healthy balance of the absurd and the dead serious, Pride has maintained a steady flow of compelling and innovative work.” — NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD

“There’s a lot stirring in the hidden recesses of Brooklyn, as new generations of players take the reins and throw preconceptions about genre and style to the wind. Foremost among these is percussionist Mike Pride, who’s earned his propers with heavyweight veterans and is becoming an ever more distinctive leader.” — SIGNAL TO NOISE
Regular Price: $14.95
On Sale For: $7.48 

Aki Takase's phenomenal technique and her talent for improvisation is well known, as is her love for the jazz classics. She has already paid tribute to Fats Waller and recorded with saxophonist Silke Eberhard an "Ornette Coleman Anthology". Now she takes a close look at the arguably most influential jazz pianist of the jazz tradition: Duke Ellington.

Aki Takase examines Ellington's playing from numerous angles throughout the album and within each track. Rather than quote or paraphrase Ellington compositions to contextualize this idea, Takase concentrates on the building blocks of his piano vocabulary – the articulations, voicings and devices that convey colors and fragrances. As a result, she sets a wealth of stylistic markers afloat, untethered to an Ellington composition, where they can be heard anew. Bill Shoemaker writes in the liner notes: "What cannot be overstated is Takase's depth of feeling here and throughout My Ellington; it is something rare and profound." 
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3-LP 180-gram audiophile box set!

On December 10, 2007, Led Zeppelin took the stage at London’s O2 Arena to headline a tribute concert for dear friend and Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. What followed was a two-hour-plus tour de force of the band’s signature blues-infused rock ’n’ roll that instantly became part of the legend of Led Zeppelin.

Founding members John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant are joined by Jason Bonham, the son of their late drummer John Bonham and perform 16 songs from their celebrated catalog including landmark tracks “Whole Lotta Love,” “Rock And Roll,” “Kashmir,” and “Stairway To Heaven.”

This 180g 3LP pressing from Atlantic Records features incredibly dynamic sound. You've waited nearly three decades. Don't wait another second. It's time to rock and roll!

Regular Price: $49.95
On Sale For: $34.97 

Nobody plays Monk like Schlippenbach. In the same way Monk worked on a composition for weeks, Schlippenbach has involved himself with Monk's work for many years. Listening, analysing, playing and with the greatest conceivable respect. Already the 3 CD-recordings of Thelonious Monk's complete works from Alexander von Schlippenbach together with the band Die Enttäuschung (Intakt CD 100) are a most impressive documentation of this involvement. 

With this present production for which Alexander von Schlippenbach chose some of his "Monk-favourites" – including some of the more rarely performed pieces – to him it was not about working on, re-harmonising or consciously changing the original forms of Monk's compositions. Their themes are so multifaceted and complex that it was Alexander von Schlippenbach's first and foremost concern to keep very close to these themes and to concentrate his focus on dealing "freely" with the melodies and the rhythmic torque. 

Monk and Schlippenbach: A stimulated conversation going on and they get along brilliantly, these brothers in spirit! Ulf Drechsel, Liner Notes

Recorded November 22, 23, 2011.
Regular Price: $18.95
On Sale For: $9.48 


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