October 13, 2019 – 4:06 am


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San Francisco 2019 [no label, 1CD]

Live at The Chapel, San Francisco, CA; May 17, 2019 (late show). Very good audience recording.

Thanks to vortexzephyr for sharing the show at Dime.

vortexzephyr noted:

Completely improvised set by three amazing musicians. The whole thing is incredible, but in particular Improv 1 is imo some of the most transcendent music I’ve ever heard anywhere or anytime. Recording came out very well.

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Giacomo Fiore, sfcv.org:

Terry Riley, Laurie Anderson, and John Zorn - three towering figures in US experimentalism - don’t immediately spark an association among them. Before their latest two-night, four-shows residency of a sort at the Chapel on Valencia Street. they had collaborated exactly once, coming together on the occasion of Zorn’s 65th-birthday celebrations at the same venue in September 2018. The trio hit it off, and if the opening set from their current revival is any indication, we may not have heard the last from them.

Repeating passagework, whether electronically enhanced our produced through sheer mechanical determination, coalesced into clouds of sound that evoked the evolving atmospheres of Music for the Gift and Poppy Nogood; elsewhere more noisy and gestural moments prevailed, with Zorn displaying his credentials as lifelong improviser in the downtown New York scene through a kaleidoscopic range of squeals, sqwonks, and splatts. Yet even when things got loud - and they did - the feeling was always deliberate, coordinated; the engagement and attunement among the three was tangible, and as a result the audience remained connected through the 50-plus minute continuous escapade.

For the most part, the trio’s body language and clear individual expression rendered the onstage exchanges easy to follow throughout, but occasionally the use of live electronics to process the sounds de-coupled gesture from aural results and complicated the overall picture. Anderson’s violin, for example, appeared to be both delayed and pitch-shifted for extensive periods of time, meaning that often her bowing and plucking did not obviously correspond to the audible sounds. The effect, however, was mesmerizing, evoking the idea of a cubist string quartet shadowing her gestures.

Riley’s sardonic approach to electronics further muddled the picture, as some of his synthesizer patches (including those deployed by an unidentified touch instrument he had laid on top of the acoustic piano) occupied a very similar sonic space to Anderson’s violin, leading me to wonder whether he was actually sampling and processing some of her own playing in real time. Whichever the means of production, the sensual side of things was always satisfying, if bewildering; it was just my curiosity as to how they might be doing it that ended up being frustrated.

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Ca-11 mics on hat > Zoom Q2n @24/96, left of center 15′ from PA stack > mastered with audacity, flac’d and md5′d with TLH

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (320kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

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Track 01. Improv 01 16:30
Track 02. Improv 02 21:16
Track 03. Improv 03 (Riley solo) 7:09
Track 04. Improv 04 4:56
50 mins

John Zorn - sax
Laurie Anderson - violin
Terry Riley - keyboards

Click on the respective links to order John Zorn; Laurie Anderson; and Terry Riley releases.


  2. I’m so tired of having to remind people that most of these modern posts are not Jazz . Not exactly sure what it is but it’s not Jazz .

    By Smashmouth on Oct 13, 2019

  3. Wow - what a treat! Another great weekend surprise! Can’t wait to hear.

    By Happy Camper on Oct 13, 2019

  4. This looks brilliant. Will download later today. Thanks BigO!

    By Bing Bongong on Oct 13, 2019

  5. Smashmouth - you really don’t have to. If people are inquisitive enough to listen to the music, they’re smart enough to figure it out for themselves.

    By MrBill on Oct 13, 2019

  6. I agree it’s not jazz . Why do people continue to use jazz to describe these milennium shows? Some have a little jazz flavor but like film noirs of the forties and fifties ‘ Jazz was better during that time period as well.

    By T J on Oct 13, 2019

  7. Not nearly as tired as we are reading your endless drivel about how narrow minded and old fashioned your taste is Smashie!

    If you don’t like it don’t listen, let alone comment. If you no longer understand where jazz has evolved and developed to stay with your taste and let the rest of us get on.


    It’s as bad as the racist mindless mouth breathing knuckle dragging troll’s comments and those begging for perpetual hard rock and endless Led Zeppelin who are well served over at somewhere like Guitars 101 who cater more for less eclectic tastes. Big O is a huge broad church as is evidenced by the lists over on the right here. If you don’t care for that, that’s fine just try to refrain from telling us all the godamned time. We don’t care. We really don’t . . . .One last point I take it you subscribe here and send money to Big O to support them? If you don’t consider it, then you might have more right to drone on and on about what music you don’t like
    laters potaters

    By swappers on Oct 13, 2019

  8. This is great! Thanks BIGO.

    And Smashmouth is a troll, like the racists and the fake groupies with their penis obsessions. They don’t contribute any money, just like they don’t contribute anything of substance in their comments. Again, I plead with BIGO to get rid of the comments section, so people don’t have to see the racism and pre-adolescent penis talk.

    By Willis on Oct 14, 2019

  9. Smashmouth a troll ? To me he’s just a man with an expressed opinion who voices it often . As narrow minded as that opinion may be . I personally dont define this and a lot of other modern music as jazz in the traditional sense.. Perhaps it should be called something else.

    By David on Oct 14, 2019

  10. Excellent selection! Thanks, Big O. This is exactly what sets this site apart.

    By peacenluvmaaan on Oct 23, 2019

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