CULTURAL WORKINGS

Welcome to THE CULTURAL WORKER, a blog dedicated to arts of the people, on the Left, ranging from the radical avant garde and free jazz to dissident folk forms and popular arts . The Cultural Worker celebrates revolutionary creativity and features a variety of essays, reviews, fiction, reportage, poetry and musings through the internet pen of this writer, musician and cultural organizer. Scroll straight down and you'll also find an extensive historical Photo Exhibit of cultural workers in action, followed by a series of Radical Arts Links. The features herein will be unabashedly partisan---make no mistake about that. The concept of the cultural worker as a force of fearless creativity, of social change, indeed as an artistic arm of radicalism, has always been left-wing when applied with any degree of honesty at all. No revolutionary act can be truly complete in the absence of art, no progressive campaign can retain its message sans the daring drumbeat of invention, no act of dissent can stand so strong as that which counts the writers, musicians, painters, dancers, actors, photographers, film and performance artists within its ranks. Here's to the history and legacy of cultural work in the throes of the good fight...
john pietaro

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Radio NOIR, "Langston"

Radio NOIR:  "The Lost Broadcast" E.P.

Radio NOIR is a quartet which wields its own unique brand of dissident swing. Helmed by xylophonist/percussionist John Pietaro and featuring the clarinet of Quincy Saul, the electric guitar of Javier Hernandez-Miyares and the electric bass of Laurie Towers, the band made its debut at the 2011 Dissident Arts Festival (August 13, 2011, the Brecht Forum, NYC). Soon after the members recognized that the artistic as well as socio-political ties that led to the founding of Radio NOIR was indeed a reason to hold the band together. Inspired by the fervent radicalism and sounds of the 1930s as well as the daring post-punk improvisations of downtown NYC, Radio NOIR seeks to build bridges between Left politics and Jazz, radical philosophy and New Music. "The Lost Broadcast", Radio NOIR's 4-song E.P. collection, was recorded live in an all-day marathon session at 17 Frost Theatre of the Arts (Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY) in October 2011. The final document not only includes blazing audio tracks of the band's unique 'dissident swing' but wholly produced videos as well, inclusive of imagery projected onto 17 Frost's three massive screen's positioned around Radio NOIR during the recording process. Note that some of the imagery is comprised of excerpts of the seminal sci-fi/social change film 'Metropolis' by director Fritz Lang. It is not happenstance that Lang's film was directly influenced by his visions of NYC during his initial visit here--- likewise now his work inspires Radio NOIR in their music-activism journey. This E.P. is Radio NOIR's debut recording and one which offers a vivid account of their convictions. Starting from the bitter social unrest of the 1930s, the quartet produce a music which speaks loudly to today's struggles for social and economic justice. Wrapped in the shadows of Depression-era New York, the four titles bridge Hot Jazz  to noir novels, ethereal sounds to No Wave, the words of revolutionary composer Hanns Eisler to free improvisation and the music of Woody Guthrie to a restless, relentless kind of swing. The members of Radio NOIR are experienced improvisors, with New Music as well as expansive Jazz and Pop burnt deeply into their repertoires, but always they maintain the still higher goal of the arts as cultural work, a means toward real social change.

Here is the first release from The Lost Broadcast....


"Langston" (John Pietaro/Quincy Saul) - a 'modernist blues' dedicated to Langston Hughes and his revolutionary intellectual cohorts in the Harlem Renaissance.  In this chamber Jazz piece which opens in a rather mellow mood, the quartet blows over changes in a C-minor blues form which is extended by a whole-tone section. Quincy Saul's clarinet and John Pietaro's xylophone establish the contrapuntal melodic lines, ultimately racing about each other, as Javier Hernandez-Miyares' electric guitar barks commentary from the sideline and Laurie Towers' bold, unshakeable electric bass holds the entire group together in a manner which actually negates the need for a drummer. 

For more info on Radio NOIR  please take a moment to stop by our Facebook page as well as our Reverbnation page......




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