Jim Ryan’s Forward Energy | Where Are They? | Edgetone Records

Jim Ryan – alto/tenor sax, flute, voice | Eddie Gale – trumpet | Alicia Mangan – tenor sax | Scott R. Looney – piano | Kristjan Bondesson – bass | Marshall Trammell – drums

Recorded by Scott R. Looney 6/13/03 @ 1510 Studios, Oakland, CA.  Cover photo, type, & layout, Jacque Ryan, Dania Beach, Florida.  Mixed and mastered by Jim Ryan at jimzeen productions, Oakland, CA

Tracklist: 1) Where are They? Jim Ryan spoken word/alto sax, Eddie Gale trumpet, Scott R. Looney piano, Kristjan Bondesson contrabass, Marshall Trammell drums – 8:12 2) Lovely Desert (w/Thorns) – Ryan flute, Alicia Mangan tenor sax, Bondesson bass, Trammell drums – 8:25 3) Looney’s Lead – Ryan tenor, Mangan tenor, Looney piano, Bondesson bass, Trammell drums – 9:06 4) Jim’s Trio – Ryan alto, Bondesson bass, Trammell drums – 6:43 5) Ballad – Ryan as, Gale tp, Bondesson b, Trammell d – 7:24 6) HumVee – Ryan as, Mangan ts, Bondesson b, Trammell d – 13:51 7) Evolution – Ryan ts, Gale tp, Mangan ts, Looney p, Bondesson b, Trammell d – 14:33 | Total CD Time = 68’17”

This highly controversial release from one of the jazz masters

of the beat generation presents his powerful group Forward Energy in “Where Are They?” In one of Jim Ryan’s best musical recordings to date, you get full bodied jazz explorations from lyrical flute work to full force high energy driving free wheeling swing. Guests include the legendary former Blue Note trumpet player Eddie Gale as well as young Los Angeles lionesses tenor saxophonist Alicia Mangan. Employing his unique classic poetry and slamming saxophone work, Jim presents thought provoking music that will keep you on your toes.

Where Are They?

is a powerhouse set of seven original pieces (including the title poem by Jim Ryan), performed by six master musicians whose music incorporates the jazz tradition as well as advanced explorations of the genre. These tracks are totally improvised but each forms an amazingly structured whole. The CD is dedicated to the memory of those who are being destroyed every day in the war fostered by greed and lust for power in Iraq. The players ages’ cover a range of forty-five years. Forward Energy’s special guest on three of these tracks, Eddie Gale, achieved recognition for his trumpet work on Cecil Taylor’s Unit Structures. He has been a resident of San Jose, CA for over twenty-five years ever since he came out west with Mr. Taylor’s orchestra — preferring the California climate to his native Brooklyn, N.Y. He has been part of the Sun Ra Arkestra and jammed with John Coltrane’s famous quartet in the ’60’s.

His Blue Note recordings of that era have recently been reissued and enthusiastically rediscovered by the young, college-radio listening crowd. Jim Ryan grounded himself in the sounds of swing, bop and Jazz at the Philharmonic while in high school and came to full bloom in Paris, France during weekly, year-long participation in Steve Lacy’s free-jazz jams during the early 70’s. He put together his first group The Free Music Formation’ at that time. Alicia Mangan became proficient as a tenor saxophonist in bop and Latin music but was inspired by Charles Mingus, Albert Ayler, Charles Gayle, et. al., to develop a unique approach to the instrument. She moved to Northern California in the late 90’s and began playing with Forward Energy in 1998, as well as with other advanced Bay Area groups and musicians. She currently lives in Los Angeles. Scott R. Looney bristles with music degrees and is a nuanced, yet ferocious improviser, bringing his Kansas City roots to (literally) both the inside and outside of his piano playing. Kristjan Bondesson, the youngest member of the group at twenty-three, regularly gigs with Eddie Gale, and lives in San Jose. Marshall Trammell has worked with Forward Energy over the past five or six years and has also been the drummer in Marco Eneidi’s ‘Oakland Transit Authority’ trio as well as several other groups. Jim Ryan formed Forward Energy in 1997.

He was scheduled to play in San Francisco at a cafe called ‘Radio Valencia’ which devoted Sunday evenings to ‘the music’ and in a telephone conversation the proprietor asked what the name of the group was . . . Jim thought for a moment and came up with “Forward Motion … er… no … Forward Energy,” and so it’s been for the past eight years in the San Fancisco Bay Area, Los Angels, Chicago, and New York City with a revolving cast of players. The majority of the current group have, however, played regularly with Forward Energy over these years. Five Forward Energy CDs are available from Edgetone Records.

Where Are They?

the world’s battered populations
are listed in administrators’ files
for the private use
of public power-wielding fiends
like Hitler Stalin Saddam Nixon Bush
and the deconscienced money
and privileged ghouls
who’d screw daylight from the sky
were the sun a bulb
that they could seize
and charge mankind for use

if you could do
as others did to you
as someone’s
sure to do again
to gain glory for its self
by slight of hand …
would you?
do you?..
do you say yes
because it’s the only way
and your need is great
and if you don’t another will?..
do you say no
because you don’t know
how to stack the deck
or you’re afraid
or just because you cannot bring yourself
to cheat at life?
is life a game of lust and greed
in which all’s fair and force and craft
the major moves by which we succeed
to make our mark upon the gravestone?..

what then?
where are Saddam Stalin Nixon
Hitler and the Bush boys now?..
who cares where they are
or what they say or said

what matters are the battered populations
dying with us in the Streets
from wounds wrought by power-hungry fiends

and yet the people remain
even when the light’s been wiped
from the sky by fools who blast
and bind their fellow men
in files for their private use

these decomposed souls
but turn themselves to beasts
unleashing pain upon the human world
in which they’ve ceased to be

their history is no more
than the marks of dirty paws
upon man’s record
of his earthly time …

jim ryan, 2003

Jim Ryan

was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota in philosphy. Began listening to bebop at about age 15 and took up the trombone but was forced to abandon it about a year later when his parents sent him to work in an electrode factory in North Carolina. Nearing his mid-30’s and living in Paris, France he picked up the flute in about ’68 and shortly thereafter acquired a c-melody sax. In the early 70’s he participated in a year-long workshop organized and led by Steve Lacy.

Jim formed the “Free Music Formation” about this time, and played in Paris and other European cities. He returned to the States in 1975 and settled in Washington, D.C. where he formed the Art Performance Group in 1979.

In 1987 he moved California and lived in Marin County until 1993 when he moved to Oakland and hooked up with the Bay Area Improv Scene. In 1997 he launched his own group “Forward Energy” which has been performing regularly since then. Jim has also participated in Marco Eneidi’s “American Jungle Orchestra,” and Eddie Gale’s “Orchestra for World Peace.”

In the Spring of 2000, he founded the Electro/Acoustic Sextet of Oakland which was a melding of free jazz and ‘avant’ academic styles. The group performed in Oakland and at the Big Sur Experimental Music Festival in May, 2000. In the Spring of 2000 he performed in the 401 Festival at Theatre Artaud in composer Matthew Burtner’s piece for nine tenor saxophones, “Portals of Distortion.” In early 2001 formed: THE LEFT COAST IMPROV GROUP. In late 2002 Jim formed a third group SUBJECTS OF DESIRE which adds vocals and texts (written by Jim) to an avant improv approach. This ensemble has been through two incarnations and is about to embarck upon its third. (source)

 

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