Monday, December 21, 2015

Top 8 of 2015

Here's my Top 8 for music for 2015.  I was aiming for a top ten list but it ended up being just eight (I've gone over ten in past years; I'm actually not sure how many times I've actually landed on ten).  I found that there wasn't much that jumped out at me this past year and said "I"m great".  Also, I suspect that there's a fair amount of music that I just missed, just didn't hear.  Anyway, enjoy the list.


Alice Coltrane – Universal consciousness
A reissue, originally from 1971.  Not quite as good as World galaxy from the following year (World galaxy wins out due to the guru + organ + funky drummer version of “A love supreme”) but still a classic of freak jazz.  It’s a swirl of spirituality (mostly of the Hindu variety), Coltrane’s harp and organ, skittering percussion, and spooky strings.

Miles Davis – At Newport 1955-1975: the bootleg series vol. 4
A 4-CD survey of Miles Davis’ musical styles recorded live at the Newport Jazz Festival.  It’s got an all-star session with Monk and others, the first and second great quintets, and a load of stuff from Davis’ rock years.

Steve Earle & The Dukes – Terraplane
Steve tackles the blues, mostly.  A few of the tracks are in rock mode.  Not his best but it’s fun.  Anyone who can make a song called “Baby, baby, baby (baby)” work deserves some kudos.

Grateful Dead – 30 trips around the sun: the definitive live story
Not the 80-CD version, only a 4-CD edition, documenting one song from one show from each of the 30 years of the Dead’s existence. Many nice choices, some expected and some unexpected.  The material from the later years is better than I thought it would be.

Last Exit – Iron path
Another reissue, the only studio album from the avant jazz supergroup.  Featuring noise rock getting together with free jazz, it’s a nice antidote to the masses of mushy jazz that exist in the world.

Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Orchestra – Galactic parables: volume 1
More crazed cosmic music from the prolific Mazurek and gang.  Sounds like Sun Ra on steroids plus more electronics and spoken word.

Richard Thompson – Still
More very good songs and playing from the (almost) always excellent Thompson.  I like it better than his last release, Electric; things just seem about a half-notch better here.

Ryley Walker – Primrose green
Yes, Ryley has listened to an awful lot of Tim Buckley, John Martyn, and Pentangle and this clearly shows on this recording.  That being said, there are far, far worse influences to be showing plus the album simply works.  The supporting musicians are from the jazz world, which seems to add much to the proceedings.

December 21, 2015

Mostly a no-Christmas pre-Christmas show today, though I did include a couple of Xmas mash-ups, "Merry fucking Christmas" by Alias Frequencies and an excerpt of "Xmas" by Wayne Butane.  Most everything else was newly-released jazz, mostly Canadian.

Next show will be the last one for 2015, Monday, December 28, 10-11 am.


Monday, December 14, 2015

December 14, 2015

For today's show, the podcast and tracklist are at  Note that the first few minutes or so of the program were cut off; the recording starts part way through the first track, "Joban Dna Nopla" by Chick Corea and Bela Fleck.

Everything in today's program was newly released or newly re-released.  I suspect that next week's edition will feature more trips to the past but we'll see how it turns out.


Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7, 2015

The latest episode of Breaking The Tethers, with tracklist, is available at

This was a somewhat mellower show than a few of the recent ones have been though still largely camped in avant/out there/free territory.  As with most recent programs, most of the tracks were newly-released with a few trips into the past.  Best title" "Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas" by Misha Mullov-Abbado; I saw that and I knew that I had to play it on BTT!


Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30, 2015

BTT for the last Monday in November (where did the month go?!):

This link should go right to the podcast and tracklist.

I managed to actually play the Haino/O'Rourke/Kuge track today.  Last week, I thought I had sent it out to the world but, in reality, technical weirdness crept in and nothing was really played, outside of the broadcast booth.

Next show will be Monday, December 7, 10-11 AM MT.  Four more programs until 2016!


Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23, 2015

Podcast and tracklist for today's show are at  Note: The Haino-O'Rourke-Kuge track at the end didn't actually play.  It was only supposed to go on for a few minutes but I believe there was just silence in those few minutes.  Technical difficulties i.e. my fault.  I'll play the piece again next week, just to make sure it makes it to air.


Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015

The podcast and tracklist for today's show is at

Only five things played in today's show.  Three new and two old, the latter being a couple of fairly freaky things (Peter Broetzmann Chicago Tenet from Germany, 2010, and Anthony Braxton and Marilyn Crispell from London, 1993).   I don't think I've played so few tracks in an hour in quite a while.


Monday, November 9, 2015

November 9, 2015

From snowy Calgary, here's the tracklist for and podcast of today's edition of Breaking The Tethers:

Aside from a Captain Beefheart live recording from 1981, everything in this show was newly released.  A bit of a lean to the experimental side of things as well.


Monday, November 2, 2015

November 2, 2015

First show of November 2015 (along with the first real snow in Calgary this winter).  I managed to play a whopping 13 tracks in one hour, mostly because I played a number of short pieces.  The tracklist and podcast is at  BTW, the title of the song by Galactic is "Long live the Borgne" (there are still some weirdness with the new system).

Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26, 2015

The funding drive edition of Breaking The Tethers is done for another year.  $150 was pledged to the program; to be honest, more would have been nice but any amount is very welcome.  Many thanks to the pledgers (Dave and Renee).  Thanks also to Linda Cunningham (who often fills in on Breaking The Tethers when I'm away) and Whitney Ota (CJSW music director) who joined me during today's episode.  The podcast and tracklist for the show is at

Funding Drive 2015 show today!

Not long to go!  The Breaking The Tethers CJSW funding drive 2015 program starts in a little less than two hours, as of writing.  As always, the show will run from 10-11 am MT on CJSW, 90.9 FM,  A good time should be had by all.  I'm going to play a few tunes, talk with a guest or two,  and, most importantly, hopefully raise some cash for Calgary's (only!) campus and community radio station.  Pledges can be made by calling 403-220-5000 or online at funding  Many thanks!

Friday, October 23, 2015

CJSW Funding Drive 2015 begins!

The CJSW Funding Drive 2015 began this morning, 9 am.  If you want to pledge, the number is (403) 220-5000.  You can donate online at  Also check out

As mentioned, the Breaking The Tethers Funding Drive show will be this coming Monday, October 26, 10-11 am MT.  Please join me then!


Monday, October 19, 2015

October 12 and 19, 2015

One of the great features of the revamped CJSW site ( is that there are podcasts for every episode of every show, from the last week or two going forward.  These are actual recordings of the programs.  This is something that listeners have long requested and is finally here.  If you miss a show when it's on live, you can go to the CJSW site and listen there.  In addition, there are also trackless for every show.

For Breaking The Tethers, there are two podcasts available so far:

October 12:

Note: There's a typo in the tracklist for Oct. 12.  One track is mostly missing, "Parts four five, pt. 4" by Gordon Beeferman from the album Parts four five.

The Oct. 19 show was guest hosted by Linda Cunningham.  Many thanks to Linda for filling in!

Stay tuned for the 2015 CJSW Funding Drive show next Monday, October 26, 10-11 am MT.


The Blog Rises Again...

It's been a few years since I've used this blog for my CJSW radio program, Breaking The Tethers (BTT).  I moved the blog function for BTT to the CJSW website and have posted playlists and such there. However, there is a new CJSW site that does not include a blog; accordingly I'm going to start using this (old) blog again for BTT matters.  Stay tuned for more here very soon!