THE RED MICROPHONE is a NYC-based New Music/New Jazz quartet of rad musicians engaging in a repertoire drenched in free jazz, dissident swing, modernist blues and contemporary composition at once exploratory, compelling and patently “downtown”. Call it post-Ornette, Post-Dolphy, post-Punk, post-Occupy music. The Red Microphone’s art is as revolutionary as the times demand.
John Pietaro (vibraphone, percussion), Ras Moshe (saxophones, flute), Rocco John Iacovone (saxophones), Nicolas Letman- Burtinovic (bass)
The Red Microphone has performed at such New York City spaces as Shapeshifter Lab, ABC No Rio, the Brecht Forum, 17 Frost Theatre of the Arts and ZirZamin and Downtown Music Gallery, with upcoming dates at the Metropolitan Room, the Firehouse Space and Cornelia St Cafe, among others including the 2013 Dissident Arts Festival. The band's debut disc, 'The Red Microphone Speaks!' brings together powerful revolutionary statements from the likes of Malcolm X, Pierre Degeyter & Eugene Pottier (composer and poet of 'L'Internationale'), John Howard Lawson, Hanns Eisler, Angela Davis and Dalton Trumbo, through the media of free jazz, contemporary composition and more. The album contains a powerful sampling of our "special brand of new revolutionary jazz" (DooBeeDooBeeDoo magazine) including reconstructions of radical themes, original music and free improvisations. The tapes were mastered by legendary downtown new music producer and musician Kramer (ex of NoiseNewYork studio and Shimmy-Disc records). Immediately after the mastering, Kramer had this to say about the disc:
“This music is MOVING me like nothing else I’ve mastered in years. Reminds me of the days when all I listened to was stuff from the ESP label, BYG (from France), and Karl Berger, my first real teacher and mentor. This music of yours brings all musics TOGETHER. I f__ing LOVE it!”
Excerpts of critic's responses....
“Out of the thousands of Jazz LP’s and CD’s that I own, there is something truly special and important about the music on The Red Microphone Speaks. From the moment I hit play, I was glued to the chair. The blending of music and poetry is seamless and magical. It hits you right in the heart and makes you feel alive. The only word that comes to mind is striking.”
– Nathan Yeager – www.jazzlabpodcast.com
“"The Red Microphone Speaks! is an example of free music at its finest; of what happens when several musicians make a commitment to spontaneously create as one, while not losing their individuality... a special brand of new revolutionary jazz”
– DooBeeDooBeeDoo magazine
“The Red Microphone is a politically-oriented chamber jazz quartet who use themes of freedom, texts by Langston Hughes, protests of the House of UnAmerican Activities and music by Hanns Eisler…with the voices of Malcom X, Angela Davis and Dalton Trumbo added to the blend. I like that both saxes or flute often lay back and play their calm lines together, swirling softly around one another sublimely, occasionally in a dream-like state. Also what is great about this disc is that this is protest music which never shouts or screams, it is thoughtful and well-paced giving us a chance to think calmly about the way our freedom has been abused and manipulated by those in charge.”
-Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
THE RED MICROPHONE SPEAKS!
1) Freedom Theme (Rocco John Iacovone)
2) L'Internationale Redux (“L’Internationale” by Pierre Degeyter; adaptation and arrangement by John Pietaro)
3) God to the Hungry Child (music by Janet Barnes to poetry of Langston Hughes; originally published by the Composers Collective of New York, 1932; adaptation and additional music by John Pietaro)
4) The Proof is Overwhelming (free improvisation incorporating John Howard Lawson’s statement protesting the House Un-American Activities Committee, 1947)
5) Song of the United Front (music by Hanns Eisler; adaptation by the Red Microphone; licensing via Breitkopf & Hartel, Weisbaden, Germany)
6) One for Robeson (free improvisation dedicated to Paul Robeson)
7) L'Internationale Reconstruct (“L’Internationale”: lyric by Eugene Pottier, music by Pierre Degeyter. Excerpted prose: “Our Revolutionary Music” and “The Crisis in Music” by Hanns Eisler. Conception and arrangement by John Pietaro; adaptation by the Red Microphone, Nora McCarthy and Natalie Scarborough) –recorded voices of Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Dalton Trumbo (HUAC hearing, 1947), Vladimir Lenin
8) The Times (“And the Times Are Dark and Fearful” by Hanns Eisler; adaptation and arrangement by John Pietaro; licensing via Breitkopf & Hartel, Weisbaden, Germany)
JOHN PIETARO –vibraphone, suspended cymbals, various bells, frame drum (selection 4), shaker (selection 5), glockenspiel (selection 5), wind chimes (selection 5), tom-tom (selections 5, 6, 7), snare drum (selections 5.6.7), triangle (selection 6), drumkit (selection 7 intro), lion’s roar (selection 7), spoken word (selections 6, 7)
RAS MOSHE –tenor and soprano saxophones, flute, bells (selections 4, 6, 7), spoken word (selection 3)
ROCCO JOHN IACOVONE –alto and soprano saxophones, ocarina (selection 4), frog rasp (selection 4)
NICOLAS LETMAN-BURTINOVIC – double bass (except selection 8)
With special guest NORA MC CARTHY –vocal (selection 7)
--Recorded on December 16, 2012 at 17 Frost Theatre of the Arts studio, Brooklyn NY; Engineer: Natalie Scarborough.
--Mastered by Kramer at NoiseMiami Studio, Miami FL
--Cover photograph by Denise Iacovone; disc photograph by John Pietaro
Fusing revolutionary song with New Jazz, Modernism with the post-Modern, and world sounds with Downtown, the Red Microphone speaks…..
Our deepest gratitude goes out to Nora McCarthy, jazz diva nonpareil, for her vocal and spoken word contributions to this disc’s “L’Internationale Reconstruct”. Her voice sounds the alarm, calling the People to battle and shouting out the struggle with deft drama and hip aplomb.
Three cheers to Denise Iacovone for her powerful photo shoots of the band up to and including the pic that adorns the cover of this collection. Her artful photography tells our story, shot by shot, gig by gig.
And to Breitkopf & Hartel, publishers of Hanns Eisler’s works, for help in obtaining a mechanical license to bring his music to our vision.
Greatest thanks to Natalie Scarborough of 17 Frost for engineering ‘The Red Microphone Speaks!’ so inventively and mixing it with such creativity and tireless enthusiasm. Williamsburg BK is in the house!
Parades of appreciation also go out to good brother Kramer for helping to shape this album through his mastering skill—and also for his role since the 1980s as a nexus between Punk rebellion and New Music radicalism; then as now, there’s revolution in the sounds emanating through his studio.
THE RED MICROPHONE is proud to serve as a link in the chain of cultural workers who have used the arts as weapons in the good fight. As long as there has been dissent, there have been musicians, poets, painters, dancers and actors to inspire, document, color and lead the various revolutionary movements erupting about them. Jazz is a music born in the United States to traditions of African roots torn from the motherland under brutal force and melded with European and Native American traditions. Oppressed and oppressor meet here and ultimately exchange positions and the voice of the people is raised---in a clarion call. Through the improvisation which is central to this music, the artists speak out in anger, laughter, lament, celebration, militancy and the vision of a new day.