Welcome to THE CULTURAL WORKER, a blog dedicated to arts of the people, from the radical avant garde and free jazz to dissident folk forms, punk 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 creative writer, journalist, 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

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Taking Off, Edith Lettner’s Freemotion (ArtDialogue, 2017)

Edith Lettner- alto and soprano saxophones
Gerhard Franz Buchegger- piano keyboard
Gerhard Graml- upright and electric basses
Stephan Brodsky- drums, percussion

CD review by John Pietaro

Edith Lettner’s music is worthy of a smoke-filled room lost to another age. The saxophonist has been casting her vision of creative music throughout Europe and during frequent, regular trips to New York City for years, tangling horns with some of the best improvisers on both continents, always proving herself as utterly unique, thoroughly gifted. Lettner’s strange and beautiful alto and soprano saxophones offer a vibrato that speaks to jazz of the 1920s and early 30s over a language strictly post-1960. Herein, Bechet swirls through Trane and Dolphy, doubles back to Yellow Nunez, Johnny Dodds and Pee Wee Russell, and then cries and barks like Ornette, moody, drifting, swinging, funky odd-time signatures, sometimes all in one piece. The effect is haunting. And Lettner’s use of modal works stream from her roots in Austria, ancient Germanic motifs concurrently lamentative and joyous.

The album cover of Taking Off is adorned with a raven contemplating flight, and the contents within, like Poe’s raven, are watchful, learned, meditative, melodic and tossed stoically amidst instrumental verse, at once heralding, repetitive and compelling. 

1 comment:

  1. great review for a great cd. what strikes me on first listen is the pulsating ensemble playing with edith's voice on the horns on top of, amidst and behind this first rate rhythm section.