captain beefheart electricity

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music project various artists * FAST 'N' BULBOUS the captain beefheart project
started europe 21.10.2001 usa 09.02.02

THIS is 2001 - 2002 - later - track lists - review - albums

first, i must apologize for the poor level of this report, but it's the fault of some computer crashes and website troubles during which this project lifted off and continued. so most of this steeple-chase story rather is a retrospect.

august 2001 i came across what looked like a ghost page, the (now updated) background information about this 'jazz improvisation' project. it helps if you know the complete what, why, who - because then i can restrict to the following excerpt:

PHILLIP JOHNSTON alto sax arrangements, conductor
JESSE KRAKOW electric bass
ROB HENKE trumpet
DAVE SEWELSON baritone sax
GARY LUCAS electric guitar


Description of Music [by Phillip Johnston]: The idea is to use the compositions of Don Van Vliet as a vehicle for improvisation and arranging. The band contains steady crew of seasoned improvisers from both the worlds of avant-garde jazz and rock, who will render the music in both a tribute and a creative adventure in improvising. I'm planning to use the horn section to take the place of the vocals, as well as transmute this guitar-based music into ensemble interplay, between horns and guitar and rhythm section.
The repertoire - which is still growing - is drawn from the entire range of Beefheartiana, from Safe As Milk through Ice Cream For Crow (and concentrating heavily on Trout Mask Replica).

main why

Phillip Johnston statement: Although my main musical interests took me more often into the area of jazz, the music of Don Van Vliet remained a guiding principal throughout. In much of the music I've written over the years, I see the guiding spirit of Don Van Vliet. Now for the first time, after almost 30 years, [...] I've gotten together with my friend Gary Lucas, to do something with the music of Captain Beefheart.
Gary Lucas statement: While my own music bares scant resemblance to his (I would never ever presume to emulate his singular approach) I feel that Van Vliet's sensibility and aesthetic definitely informs my guitar playing and overall worldview - it's like I went to Beefheart University.


but why did that old version of the page look like a dead message? well, it said: 'we will rehearse in the late winter [of 2000] and early spring, and be ready to do our first gigs in the late spring of 2001'. but when i read that notice, no shows had taken place. but after examining phillip's website first, i found a clue in the very precise concert overview at the home page of gary lucas. because it announced what eventually would turn out to be the delayed start of the music project. however, before i found time to ask anyone for more information, computer problems knocked me down (sorry to bring them up again).

when back in digital space, i discovered they had started with a series of

sunday 21 october 2001 ITALY teatro ariosto, reggio emilia festival di nova musica 2001

as long as i'm not an italian i can't exactly tell what is written in the long report with much background information mauricio comandini made for the 'jazz magazine and resource' website about this part of the FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSIC 2001. but as pictures are in the same language world wide, there ís a reason to take a look at it...

phillip and gary - pictures by claudio casanova

monday 22 october 2001 BELGIUM de werf, brugge 20.30 h

almost the first emails i spotted after the repair of my electronic blindness appeared to be two (then outdated) messages about the second performance of this project. fortunately, the sender of one of them - rebecca vermeersch - had been so kind to attend the show in order to send me the following report:

'The Captain Beefheart project in Bruges (capitol of West Flanders, Belgium) was very successful. 'De Werf' was a small, homey theatre, and the sphere was very good. The artists were enthusiastic and chatted much with the audience. Gary Lucas broke a total of five strings, which in the long run was quite funny, but it was received well by the rest of the group. After the performance there followed an encore, but because the audience kept applauding, the band had no other choice than to come back on stage again. The big problem however was that they had already played all the material they had learned. So they repeated the first number of the show. I enjoyed a very pleasant evening and if they ever show up in Belgium again, I surely will be there!'

(translated from dutch by the gorillacrow. heel erg bedankt, rebecca)

tuesday 23 october 2001 GERMANY kioto club, bremen

no germans familiar with my electricity seem to have been aware of this performance, as no announcement or review was sent to me. however, the gig took place. because, besides the audience, a team of technicians from 'radio nordwest' was present, intending to record the show for a later broadcast! and, er, actually here my most humble apologies begin. for i could have known about this radio program in time if i had been more active in following the developments, as it was announced at gary's site, but i only spotted it three days áfter the broadcast. so i'm terribly sorry everyone able to receive the station missed the footage on

sunday 6 january 2002 GERMANY radio nordwest (formerly radio bremen) 20.05 hour

as soon as i found out about the program, i mailed the most obvious beefheart fan over there to know more, well-known detlef jürgens. but in stead of getting an immediate reply, it lasted a week before i received the following reaction:

'Now, here I really have missed something!! On the 6th, I just was on the way from San Francisco to Maui on the other side of the world, a few days of work combined with some holidays. Well, maybe you've found someone else who has recorded the concert? Radio Bremen, my local station and moreover my favourite one..., and then i'm not there...!' (translated from german by the gorillacrow.)

while i leave detlef pulling out his hair from disappointment, i have the same question as he: is there anyone who taped this broadcast? then, please contact him or me - it's important, as you might understand.

(vielmals dank, detlef)



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captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo