|Shaking Ray Levis CD REVIEWS:
Review of INCUS RECORDS' (CD13) "False Prophets or Dang Good Guessers"...The Levis are accomplished masters of the warp-speed sound bite: 26 of them here, set out like a board of weird sushi. Though most clock in at between 30 seconds and pop-single length, there are two more substantial tracks in the middle of the set- the combative "All Against All" and "Lady Ms Girl Shine"- which confirm that this isn't just a comic put on. -Penguin Guide to Jazz
"...this rollicking band revitalizes the so-called non idiomatic idiom." This remains true as Boss Witch proves to be one rollicking record of improvised music that is fun enough to bedevil the best out of apocalyptic culture. -National Public Radio's Jazz Critic Kevin Whitehead
Review of "Live at Lamars -The Shaking Ray Levis w/ Derek Bailey"..."The Shaking Ray Levis have an aptitude for sounding fresh and free from cliché while not appearing self-consciously outlandish. They accommodate Bailey's singular playing in ways that set his idiosyncrasies to advantage, cast them in a relatively unfamiliar light and whet the appetite for more." -The Wire
Review of "A.S.A.P. Wings"...It captures an evening where lyrics are not sung, but spoken in tongues, dissonant noises fire like stray bullets, and an intense chemistry oozes from every stuttering sound. These songs do not resemble any conventional take on pop or rock music, nor is it a discernable breed of jazz or noise for the sake of noise. There are few acts comparable to the SRL's operating anywhere around the world, so wrapping your head around the group's sound is not easily done. A.S.A.P. Wings gives a distinctively Southern accent to improv that defies the urbane angst of free jazz in favor of a deranged rural lurch. -Chad Radford, Georgia Music Magazine
Review of "Picture Disc ~ Borbetomagus & The Shaking Ray Levis"...This three-track EP (10" vinyl Picture Disc) collaboration between free noise bruisers Borbetomagus (Don Dietrich and Jim Sauter on reeds, Donald Miller on guitar) and Chattanooga, TN's finest free improvisers (Dennis Palmer on electronics and synthesizers, Bob Stagner on drums) is as riotously colorful and chaotic as Dennis Palmer's cover art. As is often the case when Borbetomagus team up with other musicians, there's a little more restraint on offer than in the trio's own coruscating work -- at the opening of "I Want to Be a Black Weight Lifter Named Douglas," Sauter and Dietrich in particular seem more content to stand back and let Miller's twisted drones battle it out with Palmer's wild synth squiggles -- but don't be fooled into thinking it's an easy listening outing. It isn't -- and that menacing-looking fish on the album cover should be sufficient warning. Even those familiar with Shaking Ray Levis' contribution to the skewed tribute compilation to the Residents (Eyesore: A Stab at the Residents, on the aptly named Vaccination label) will be taken aback by the visceral blast of "Lady Big Boy." - Dan Warburton, All Music Guide
Chattanooga isn't the sort of place one imagines as a hotbed for improvised music. But for the last decade Dennis Palmer and Bob Stagner, better known as the Shaking Ray Levis, have been struggling to smash that preconception and many more. In response to the music's reputation for seriousness, the duo bristles with knotty humor--as evidenced by the brilliant and hilariously titled 1993 album False Prophets or Dang Good Guessers (Incus). -Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader -Music Critic's Choice
"...The Shaking Rays have their own, strange take on improvisation and composition; their CDs with Derek Bailey are among his most surprising. " -Kurt Gottschalk, All About Jazz
The Shaking Ray Levis BIO:
Founded in 1986 the S R L is an ongoing collaboration of musicians with a common interest in improvisation. The project was conceived by DENNIS PALMER and BOB STAGNER. They use analog synthesizers, vocal-tellin' and percussion to achieve their Southern Ol' Time Avant-Garde sound.
They are the first American group to have recorded for INCUS RECORDS, one of the world's most important improvisation-based record labels -founded by legendary guitarist DEREK BAILEY.
They have collaborated extensively with a wide variety of artists -including REVEREND HOWARD FINSTER, MIN TANAKA, DAVID GREENBERGER, FRED FRITH, AMY DENIO, JOHN ZORN, BORBETOMAGUS, TOM CORA, STEVE BERESFORD, J.D. PARRAN, FRANK PAHL, LADONNA SMITH, DAVEY WILLIAMS, GINO ROBAIR, ROGER TURNER, EUGENE CHADBOURNE, TONY OXLEY, WAYNE WHITE and DEREK BAILEY.
Also in 1986, Palmer and Stagner co-founded THE SHAKING RAY LEVI SOCIETY. The SRL Society is the South's oldest "501C3" non profit organization dedicated to the promotion of free-improvisation throughout the region. The SRL Society is a volunteer-run organization dedicated to challenging audiences with extraordinary music, film, and performance art, and is responsible for bringing hundreds of diverse and celebrated artists to Tennessee and the Southeast.
The SRL has performed internationally on the BBC, at Quebec's International Festival de Musique Actuelle, Newfoundland's Sound Symposium, London's INCUS WEEK, and Denver's ReThink Conference.
Furthermore, their educational outreach program has been presented in many public schools throughout the U.S. The group has been awarded grants by the British Arts Council, Meet the Composer, and several regional organizations.
Incus Records released the Duo's first and second CD's, "False Prophets or Dang Good Guessers" in 1993 and "Short in the U.K." in 1997 with drummer Roger Turner and keyboardist Steve Beresford. Although they are on many compilations, their first and only vinyl release is a quintet with Borbetomagus, a release which features Palmer's artwork on a limited edition Picture Disc.
Their 1997 CD "Boss Witch" features collaborations with J.D. Parran, Davey Williams, Frank Pahl, Mary Richards, and Steve Beresford. Palmer and Stagner can be heard on Shaking Ray Records' "Live at Lamar's," a 1999 recording of a live performance with Derek Bailey.
In 2003, Palmer & Stagner teamed up with NPR commentator and DUPLEX PLANET publisher DAVID GREENBERGER with KENNY PALMER and FRANK PAHL, on PelPel's "Mayor of the Tennessee River." 2007 brings the joint Solponticello/Shaking Ray Records release of "ASAP Wings"; a live recording of Palmer, Stagner and KILLICK Erik Hinds of Athens, Georgia.
Performed at Big Ears Festival 2009 & in 2010 with vocalist Shelley Hirsch. WHO-FEST 2011 with David Greenberger in Chattanooga.
Concerts w/ artist Wayne White @ MOCAD in Detroit (April 2012).
Soon to be released recordings w/ David Greenberger, Derek Bailey, Shelley Hirsch, Frank Pahl, Wayne White, Col. Bruce Hampton & a "SRL LIVE" recorded CD/Vinyl compilation.
|p.o. box 21534 chattanooga, tn 37424 - phone: 423.910.9729|