On the nature of rabbit holes.

You’re reflecting on musicians whose work you’ve long admired… say, for instance, Nels and Alex Cline, who you just heard performing a week ago with Yuka C. Honda, and whose recordings you’ve been listening to in the days since. You remember you first became aware of them because the college radio station where you once worked got a few generous packages of albums from a California label called Nine Winds, including records that featured the Brothers Cline.

Looking for newer evidence of the Nine Winds record label on Bandcamp, you find a compilation called Nine Winds: New Blood, on which a number of young or youngish west coast players perform with and without woodwind polymath and label impresario Vinny Golia.

You buy the inexpensive sampler, then start exploring some of its constituents. First stop: the trumpeter and bandleader Daniel Rosenboom, whose metal-jazz quartet Burning Ghosts impresses you mightily, and whose most recent large-scale pieces, included on the album Astral Transference & Seven Dreams, impress you even more.


You add those albums to your wishlist. (You can’t just buy them outright, because you just bought five Glistening Examples albums at a pop a few nights ago.) Then you notice Burning Ghosts and Astral/Seven are on an unfamiliar label, Orenda Records, which is run by Rosenboom.

At which point you discover an album by Jon Armstrong, Burnt Hibiscus, a gorgeous, elaborate suite for 10-piece jazz ensemble meant to evoke a love of life in Los Angeles, and incorporating harmonium, bansuri, harp, and sung poetry in admirable ways.

You buy it immediately. (And also pick up Astral/Seven, because you’re already ordering ONE thing so might as well, right?)

And at some point it hits you: The amount of excellent music out there that you just don’t know about yet is quite likely infinite. – Steve Smith

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Further reading

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Album review: David Lang, thorn

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For all that his large-scale works have commanded the spotlight over the last decade or so, David Lang initially burst into the public eye and ear with pithy, concise, and clever chamber works… On 'thorn,' an appealing new CD by flutist Molly Barth, Lang's puckish instrumental miniatures assume center stage.