The Orlando Weekly’s Review of Midaregami

I wanted to post this review of the Tangled Bell Ensemble‘s performance of Midaregami here as I am very proud of that piece and it is a stellar review.

This Little Underground: Jim Ivy’s Tangled Bell Ensemble debuts at the In-Between Series

The local rule is that if Jim Ivy is involved, it’s gonna be weird or smart, often both.

For the consistently intriguing music monthly the In-Between Series, he rolled out a rather grand conceptual experiment with the debut of his Tangled Bell Ensemble (May 18, Gallery at Avalon Island). Using the early 20th century poetry work of Japanese author Akiko Yosano as impetus, the idea of the performance – titled “Midaregami (Tangled Hair)” – was to explore orchestrating heterogeneity into concert. To do that, he assembled a cast of 11 members – the biggest to perform the series yet – from an intentionally wide spectrum of musical backgrounds. Many of them looked and sounded like more classical players, but musicians I recognized from my usual beat included members of weirdo acts like Moon Jelly and Happy Valley. The resulting body was a small orchestra expanded with guitar, piano, accordion, voice and modern drum kit. At its head was Ivy pulling double duty as conductor and player on his trademark sax.

Sonically, the four-act journey was a tapestry of music and word (English and Japanese) that slithered from mystery to beauty to excitingly unchained bedlam at the end of the second act. Though structure and arc formed the program’s narrative, the individual pieces were composed loosely to allow some placed pockets of improvisation, moments that seemed to make Ivy beam with the most joy and that at some point engaged each and every player. Further testament to the extemporaneous spirit of the performance was the fact that the first time the entire ensemble was in the same room together was about 40 minutes before the show. Though the end was an interesting, fully in-the-moment display in itself, this was a demonstration of the art of process and spontaneity. As such, the result was adventure not recital, and it was an experience of unfolding, evolving tension.

by Bao Le-Huu

Spring Forward

A quick note on a pair of shows coming up in the next week:

Dels in a boxThe Delusionaires make a (seemingly) triumphant return to one of our favorite stomps from the good ol’ days, The Emerald Bar in St. Petersburg. It’s been many a year since we’ve walked through that beer-stained doorway and can’t wait to swill our fill alongside St. Pete’s finest. Don’t know if anyone we knew then still works there, but I’m sure whoever is serving will do The Emerald proud. We’ll be there Saturday, March 8 along with The Intoxicators and Crippled Masters. It’ll be epic, if not downright terrifying.

Milton_bradley_portraitThe next afternoon, Sunday, March 9 at 2pm, has me still in St. Pete, this time at the main library for New Music on a Sunday Afternoon, presented by The New Music Conflagration, Inc. This will be the final performance of Milton Bradley, a game piece I created for the 2012 CageFest in Jacksonville. Although this is the fifth or sixth performance of the piece, it is the first time I will present it on Florida’s west coast. Joining me in the quartet will be Kris Gruda on guitar, electronics and voice, A.J. Herring on trombone, guitar and alto saxophone, and Elizabeth A. Baker on piano, theremin, and an as yet unnamed third instrument. You can read more about the game piece here.

Hope to see all of you on the dreamy shores (or side streets) of St. Pete.

2014 Off and Running

A slew of upcoming shows to begin the year:

January 10 and 11: Midnight Exterminations: A tribute to William S. Burroughs. Here’s the full event disclosure:

1461572_10202380018879145_740552842_nA tribute reading of William S. Burroughs accompanied by segments of avante garde musical arrangements. This productions orations will be performed by: Megan Faubel, Patrick Greene and Christian Kelty. All musical composition is written by Dana Fasano , Jim Ivy, Kris Gruda and Todd Elliott. Please come and enjoy this event with us and celebrate what would have been Mr.Burroughs 100th birthday upcoming on Feburary 5. 2014…. 12a.m. Janurary 10th and 11th… $ 5 cover @ The Venue.

January 31: The Delusionaires with D.J. Dots at Nobby’s St. Augustine. Our favorite vinyl spinner joins us for an over-the-top party.

Fun_house_reissueAn as of yet unannounced special performance of the entire Funhouse recording by The Stooges in February. More details to come.

And more shows in March including the final performance of the game piece, Milton Bradley and another surprise appearance by The Delusionaires.

Also slated is a Gatto Pazzo release and my TrIP Project contribution, Discarded Angel, full release. More detail to come.

A Party In Saint Petersburg

venture compoundSo it is now set: Black Beast of CHANG will have it’s CD release show at The Venture Compound in St. Petersburg, Florida on October 12. Also on the bill will be Oblongata, Leveret, Lovebrrd, Rest in Satin Silence. Show starts at 9pm, $5 cover.

kronos-cover-smallThe CD, titled Kronos, is loosely based upon the ancient Greek myth of the Titan King and his downfall. In actuality, the recording is a live in studio improvisation and contains no overdubs or edits. The four “acts” were created as they are heard and in that order. I split the pieces into smaller “bite-sized” bits for digestion. It just happened to fit the story incredibly well. Besides, who could resist basing a work upon a story that contains castration, war, humiliation, and the eating of one’s children.

DelsIn other news, The Delusionaires once again kick off the dust of neglect and set sail on another round of boozy shows, this time in Orlando, at Will’s Pub on Friday, November 15 with Shannon and the Clams, and in Atlanta on Saturday, November 23 with The Stents! I believe there be a wedding sometime in between somewhere…

Gatto Pazzo has awoken from their hibernation and has recorded another hours worth of gold. I love that band!

And finally: NEW BAND ALERT: A new line up has emerged with a new sound that’s developing quite well. No details to you yet, but I’ll keep you informed. Let’s just say the rehearsals are banging!

Music Is The Healing Force Of The Universe

the-book-of-knotsMay means many things but for me, May means great music. May marks the greening of the grounds, but first and foremost, May marks the time for the wonderful FIMAV festival in Victoriaville!

zorn1This year’s line-up is, once again, outstanding: Iva Bittova/Gyan Riley/Evan Ziporyn, Michel Doneda/Tatsuya Nakatani, Haunted House, Oxbow, ZGA, Anna Homler, The Book of Knots (!), The Thing and Thurston Moore, Hikashu, and many more. And to close out the festival this year, a full day of John Zorn projects to mark his 60th birthday, including Moonchild, The Dreamers, Electric Masada, chamber ensembles, a “song project”, and solo church organ! Hooray for May! More details here.

wilmer14_7950To top off the month of May, there will be a tribute to Albert Ayler at Jacksonville’s Burro Bar on May 26th. This show was set up and organized by Jamison Williams, who asked me to participate. I have arranged The Spiritual Unity Suite, a suite based upon the Spiritual Unity album, with a bit of other Ayler thrown in. Other musicians participating in the evening include Jamison Williams, Kris Gruda, Steve Bristol, A.J. Herring, Bill Henderson, Jack Allen, Jeff Abbott, Kathy Burkett, Jason Dean Arnold, Dan Kozak, Tim Albro, Micheal Lanier, and Lucy Bonk. It will be a monumental tribute to a monumental artist. Be there if you can.

Until The End Of The World

2012 winds down and unless the Mayan myths are correct, 2013 is just over the horizon. As always, much to do, not enough time to get it done quickly.

Danny Feedback’s Crack Rock Opera will be presenting it’s newest tale in a very limited run (two nights) on December 20th (Will’s Pub) and 21st (Peacock Room) because, according to Mayan prophecy, there will be no December 22nd. So get your fill of rock and roll debauchery while you can.

Flooze Party the upcoming full-length vinyl release from The Delusionaires makes its debut at the release party, Friday, January 18, 2013 (providing we are all still alive) at Will’s Pub. An evening sure to be remembered, at least until the next morning. Joining the Dels will be Gravitron and Golden Pelicans.

Hal McGee continues his long running Apartment Music series in Gainesville on the afternoon of December 22nd. These shows are intimate and a LOT of fun.

A few other items to mention before the world ends:

Gatto Pazzo‘s two extremely limited edition art-packaged CDs are still available here or from me directly. There are 8 copies of Japanese Lunches and 9 copies of Doberman Dalmatian left, so if you want one, what are you waiting for?

Work is well underway on the Son of CHANG studio release. This should be completed just after the beginning of the year. Man, it sounds great! Excellently recorded by Evan Shafran.

At the recent Urban ReThink Sunday afternoon improvised music show I performed in a trio with John David Eriksen (cello) and A.J. Herring (guitar). I was very pleased with how it sounded. The performance was recorded and may eventually be available, but I look forward to more collaborations with these two gentlemen.

New CDs From Gatto Pazzo…

We are hard at work to bring you the first two releases by Gatto Pazzo. Both releases are home-made, limited edition productions. There will be a total of 15 of each release made and that will be it. They will be available at the B.L.U.R.T show on Wednesday, October 10th at Sip.

The first CD is “Doberman Dalmatian”. It comes in a custom Dalmatian fur jewel case. The music is one long improvisation that has been split for listener convenience.

The other release that will be available at Sip is the EP length “Japanese Lunches/Lamb Package Toe Prick”. This will come in a custom translucent sleeve containing original artwork by the band, one framable piece per song title. There will be a total of 15 prints along with the CDEP.

Very excited about these creations!

Another new development that I am excited about is the addition of The Dex Romweber Duo to the Tav Falco/Panther Burns show with The Delusionaires as opening act in Atlanta on October 19th. This will be an amazing show, one that you will be very sad if you miss it!!!

Great shows coming up. Hope to see everyone there.

October Feast

There is plenty brewing for the month of October.

Gatto Pazzo will deliver a rare (only the third) performance at the October 10th B.L.U.R.T. show at SIP in Orlando. Gonna be a great show with other artists including Kevin Greenspon (from California), Electric Inertia (from Ohio), Hardon Collider (from Ohio), Whitey Alabastard (from outer space), Quantyzer, and our ol’ pal Trotsky’s Watercooler.

Available for the first time at this B.L.U.R.T. show will be the first two releases from the extremely limited edition art/CD projects by Gatto Pazzo. These items will be hand-made, unique, beautiful, will include lots of artwork by the trio, and will not last long, as they will be produced in very small numbers.

A very exciting event on October 19th: The Delusionaires will crawl out of the basement for a one-time special show, filling the honorable slot of warm up band for the amazing Tav Falco and Panther Burns!!!!! This will be a very special evening. Hangovers predicted.

And rounding out the month will be the latest installment of the improvised music showcase at Urban ReThink on October 28th beginning at 3pm. Details are still being worked out, but, as always, these showcases are not to be missed.

Summer Comes To A Close

The onslaught of sweltering humidity and routine afternoon thunderstorms marks the last full month of summer, although in Florida, September brings little relief. No new releases yet, but at least two are in the works.

The Delusionaires will soon have a new vinyl release of all new recordings. Artie Mondello has been putting in much overtime to make sure it moves forward as quickly as possible.

I have been sifting through hours and hours of Gatto Pazzo recordings to compile a sampling of what we do. I find editing to be the most difficult part of preparing a new release. Should be out in a few months. Could be a multi-disc release.

Two upcoming shows of note:

On Friday, August 17th, the one-time-only performance of Vrrrooom! by Son of CHANG will occur at Uncle Lou’s in Orlando. An all-star cast of Danny Feedback, Evan Shafran, and Todd Elliott will join me as we cue card the terrain of my imagination. 10pm start time. Son of CHANG will be only a portion of the evening’s event know as B.L.U.R.T. Other performances include Hal and Mark McGee, C.A.N.S., The Jim Parsons Project, and more. Also, as part of the B.L.U.R.T. show, I will be performing in an improvised trio with Dana Fasano and Dan Reeves, founder of B.L.U.R.T.

Urban ReThink will be the location of the second performance of my game piece, Milton Bradley, as improvisors from all over Florida will gather in Orlando for an afternoon of musical mayhem. Joining me for Milton Bradley will be Kris Gruda, Jamison Williams, and Jason Dean Arnold. The afternoon event will start at 3pm. To read more about the Milton Bradley game piece please follow this link. Also scheduled on this event will be SugaWack, Fresh Ground Umlaut, and more.

A couple of new/unavailable tracks have been added to the soundcloud page. Have a listen.

Celebrating Sun Ra, Heading North, and Heading South

May has become a nearly overwhelmingly busy month, and it’s already a third over.

An event that has consumed much of my attention and that I am very excited about is the organizing and presentation of The Angel Race Big Band celebrating the life and work of Sun Ra. This show will be part of the grand opening of +Solo, a new experimental music gallery in Jacksonville, FL, and will take place on Friday, May 25th.

+Solo co-founder Jamison Williams has put together an amazing grand opening that will take place on the 25th and 26th. Experimental and improvising artists from all over will be on hand. Definitely, an event not to be missed.

The Sun Ra commemoration is in remembrance of the anniversary of Sun Ra leaving this plane of existence in 1993. The Angel Race Big Band, named after one of Ra’s compositions, will include many of the musicians performing during the +Solo grand opening. The piece will consist of Sun Ra compositions, improvisations conducted in the manner of Ra, as well as spoken word audio from the man himself.

Before this is to take place, there is the matter of my visit across the northern border to the town of Victoriaville, Quebec to experience the mecca of experimental and improvised music, FIMAV. This year’s line-up looks extremely tasty, even for a seasoned visitor as myself. In the years since my first FIMAV, 1989, I have missed very few. Go and check out the schedule!

The Wednesday after the Sun Ra set (May 30) finds me heading southbound on I-95 to the palm fronds of Miami and another amazing performance space, PAX, where I will be performing in the quartet, Entirely Experimental Ensemble, named by the organizer of the performance, Stephen Magagodi. The quartet will consist of some of my favorite musicians, Kris Gruda, Steve Bristol and Kyle Motl. This will be fun!
 A lot going on in the next two and a half weeks. Now, back to work.