Smashing Jazzheads on the Punk Rock with AUM Fidelity

Steven Joerg continues to ascend DIY style

Joerg's modest persona results in him squirming when he has to talk about himself. He'd rather discuss AUM's newest releases: Farmers by Nature, a full-on improv unit led by the shape-shifting pianist Craig Taborn whose compositions juxtapose frenetic maelstroms and subtle nuances; the strident tenor blast of Planetary Unknown, featuring Ware's first-ever collaboration with Cooper-Moore and the recorded debut of late drums legend Rashied Ali's brother, Mohammed Ali; and Cosmic Lieder, Jones's and Shipp's otherworldly, soul-searching melding of alto sax and piano.

Most of these pioneering avant-gardists will be gracing the Stone's storied, mangy floor (on which Yoko fuckin' Ono writhed just weeks ago), as will improv guitar-picking purveyor Joe Morris, the furious punk-jazz terrorists Little Women (with Jones), and silky jazz-funk troupe Mike Pride's From Bacteria to Boys (with Jones, yet again). Joerg happened upon the omnipresent, talented Jones (who will be playing no fewer than three projects at the Stone) at the Williamsburg music pub Zebulon, something for which the fledgling alto composer is forever grateful. "Personally and professionally, Steven has been a blessing to me. When he first approached me to be a part of AUM, I had no idea what that would look like," Jones says via email. "After recording my debut Man'ish Boy with him, I realized I had found a friend and that necessary element to help my musical career blossom."

Joints like Park Slope's multicultural music nook Barbès, Gowanus's experimental haven Issue Project Room, and performance/art space Littlefield book Joerg's stable of musicians regularly. "Yes, I've played a role in getting the music world to know Ware and Parker," says Joerg. "But as far as creating a 'scene'? No. I'm happy to have been there at the right place and right time and been inspired to take action to introduce 'Jazz Now.' Every-body who loves music loves some part of Coltrane, right? I wanted to introduce people to these men and that remains the reality: These giants walk among us now, and you got to fucking pay attention."

David S. Ware performs at the Stone June 24.
Peter Gannushkin/Downtownmusic.net
David S. Ware performs at the Stone June 24.

AUM Fidelity's Steven Joerg curates the Stone June 16 through 30

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3 comments
pschase
pschase

Awesome inspiring stuff...from the artists and label alike. It will be cool to be on the LES and seeing music again...

Steven Joerg
Steven Joerg

Thank you for this article. A few factual errors that need correcting: Farmers By Nature is a full-on improv unit and a collective composed of Gerald Cleaver, William Parker, Craig Taborn – compositions by all at once. David S. Ware and Cooper-Moore have indeed collaborated extensively, though the Planetary Unknown project is the first time they've worked together in 30 years. And, Muhammad Ali has appeared on record many times before (with Albert Ayler, Alan Shorter, Frank Wright and others), though Planetary Unknown is his first appearance on record since the early '80s. OH, and AUM Fidelity is in it's 14th year; aim is to celebrate our 15th Anniversary in 2012. Hope to see many readers of this piece over the next two weeks at The Stone – a stellar series rich with profound sound / fully new music is guaranteed.

harpoon63
harpoon63

I worked at Sound Exchange in Austin and Craig Koon put out the Matthew Shipp/William Parker record- punk and jazz has more in common and that record did pretty good- for an indie record back when record stores existed.

 
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