Bookhouse, a local jazz trio that includes members of the Painted Saints and the Poor Nobodys, is releasing a new double LP this weekend. What’s especially unique about this – beyond the fact that its a jazz record actually getting pressed on vinyl, something rare these days – is that the songs all come from Angelo Badalamenti’s score for the 90s TV series Twin Peaks. I interviewed all three of them (Paul Fonfara, Josh Granowski and Chris Hepola) for the City Pages’ Gimme Noise blog – you can read that interview and hear a track from the album here.
One of the things I asked the fellas from Bookhouse about was if they thought their album would turn some people onto jazz, people who would otherwise not likely be interested in the sort of records labels like ECM were putting out in the seventies and eighties. I thought it would be interesting to present tracks from some of the awesome local jazz LPs that have passed through the shop (a collection of recordings we’ve been compiling for quite a while) as a tribute to the Bookhouse boys. Minnesota is best known for it’s garage rock legacy (which we celebrated in a post here) but we also have a history of creating unique jazz records. We are, according to one of the A&R guys at Numero Group, the private press capitol of the country, and a lot of those unique independent records from the 60s and 70s were wild jazz outings. Here’s a few we’ve seen:
“Men from Mars”
The Solstice album is a soul-jazz gem. Several tracks feature vocals but the highlight of the album is this bass-heavy jam with a spacy title.
“Just the Studio” by the Whole Earth Rainbow Band
This exciting performance isn’t even the best thing on this album! The first track on either side of our copy of the LP are unplayable because it has a mean warp. The portion of their “1 2 3 4 Free” recorded at the Cafe Extempore that we can play is awesome!
“Right Triangle Exploration” by the Whole Earth Rainbow Band
This album is a favorite in our Minnesota jazz collection, and this track captures why we enjoy it so much. There’s not much to be found out about the WERB online, but several of the performers appear on other local jazz records from time to time.
While we don’t know much about the band, we do know the names of their dogs – Cruiser, Collette, Kinder McDoogle and Barney.
Percussionist Steve Kimmel of the WERB lent a little of his magic to the Natural Life album. You have probably seen this one before, as its one of the more common 70s Minnesota jazz albums. We’re guessing that’s because it sold well, and no surprise because it’s very good. Also very good is Robert Rockwell III’s solo album, Androids, and we’ve chosen to add the title track from that great record.
We recently posted a tribute to Dick Ramberg, a traditional jazz clarinetist who passed away this spring. He was an exceptional soloist and you can hear a great performance on the Hymie’s blog here.
We also posted an awesome pair of singles by a local exotica band from the 60s, the Ron Hamar Trio. You can hear those here. Ron Hamar’s son came into the shop some time later and told us more about his father, and that he was still alive. We hope to some day interview him and learn how a man from the Pacific Islands came to be leading a band in the Twin Cities. We’d also love to find and hear the third Ron Hamar Trio single!
This Morris Wilson album was probably the awesome-est crate diggin’ find of our pre-record store guru days. Just look at that price tag! This was probably the best dollar ever spent, not because we could sell this record on eBay for a fortune but because it’s one of the best Minnesota jazz LPs of all! “Saxophone Disco” and “Rusty McDusty” have already been featured on the Secret Stash compilation of local soul/funk from the 60s and 70s and so we chose a different track today. Here’s “Flute-t-Booty” which captures Wilson’s Rahsaan Roland Kirk-inspired flute playing.
Bookhouse is playing a release show for their album, Ghostwood, tonight at the Ritz Theater up in Northeast. Brute Heart is playing an opening set. Laura and Dave from Hymie’s will be there spinning wild jazz records, including some of those heard here today. Twin Peaks super fan and album producer Jamey Erickson will host a costume contest, so dress as you’re favorite Twin Peaks character if you’re planning to go. Doors at 7pm, $10, 21+.