Abdul Wadud Survey

via Avant Music News

“This survey of the life and music of cellist Abdul Wadud (1947-2022, born Ronald DeVaughn) aired on ‘The Brewing Luminous,’ WCSB Cleveland 89.3 FM on August 17, 2022. It is the first or two parts, produced and hosted by Tom Orange. This low-fi (64 kbps mp3) archived version is intended for educational purposes only.”

New Freedom Sound 2xLP

New Freedom Sound’s Eight Freedoms (45RPM 2xLP) was released on Friday. It marks the culmination of roughly a full year of work and shepherding and if you bought a copy, thank you and I hope you’re enjoying it.

If you haven’t bought a copy, there’s still a few left, at Dischord or Stickfigure here in the US, or via Arctic Rodeo Recordings in Europe.

Download purchase and streaming is available at Bandcamp, and the album is streaming on all streaming platforms.

Upcoming Jawbox Shows

This is a friendly reminder that we’re playing here in New York City at Le Poisson Rouge on July 20-22 and then in D.C. at The Black Cat on July 23. You can click on the venue links for tickets and info. The NYC shows are kind of survey of our catalog, each night emphasizing a certain era of our time together. We’re not playing complete albums but we did pull out a bunch of stuff just for these shows. Here’s a clip from a recent rehearsal to whet your whistle.

We also recorded some new versions of two songs from our first album and a Wire cover. You can buy them via Bandcamp.

I hope you enjoy it all and look forward to seeing you next week.

Second Freedom (Resuscitative Demo)

While we’re waiting for New Freedom calendars to synchronize for our next full session at Magpie Cage, I’ve been working on some things here in New York. Second Freedom wasn’t ready for everyone when we last met but some new contributions from Gordon brought the current draft to light. Hope you enjoy it.

Inspiration: Julius Eastman

I listen to Femenine quite frequently these days. Walking to my studio or to the shop, or sometimes when I’m writing in the morning, I’ll grab 20 or so minutes of it. I listened to it in its entirety, a rare treat, on a recent drive to Baltimore (for both Jawbox rehearsal and a New Freedom Sound recording session: a big music day!) and on the drive home. This version of this piece utterly captivates me. It seems to contain much of what I look for in music, a capacity for immersion, some rowdiness, some sheer beauty, wiggle-room, improvisation, and a fairly wide range of instrumentation. Alex Ross wrote about it with characteristic enthusiasm and intelligence. You’ll learn more about Eastman and his music by reading that article than skimming this post, but I will say that Eastman’s approach, his sense of minimalist grandeur, generates a kind of monumental quality notable as much for its duration as its density.

New Freedom Sound on Bandcamp


On March first of this year, not a note of this music existed. I had much of it in mind one way or another for some time but didn’t know where to start or how to capture it. It came to me, finally, that I could put together a modest but effective studio, sing the primary chords of each piece, record them over basic drum tracks, and send the results to cellist Gordon Withers. Gordon then sent me his cello ideas for each piece, frequently several at a time, which I edited and shaped into skeletal versions of enumerated compositions eventually called “Freedoms.” From there, the sketches were sent to J. Robbins and Mark Cisneros, and we all met at Magpie Cage in Baltimore to record their ideas and improvisations. I finished the pieces back at my studio, sent the files to J. for mixing and Dan Coutant for mastering and that is the story of these recordings.
“But why ‘Freedoms?’ Freedom from what?” one might ask. Freedom from oneself, perhaps, as one is freed when captivated by acts of creation; freedom from the limitations one has habitually and wrongly set for oneself; freedom from the despair and fear of the cascading and escalating crises of the last several years and especially the last couple of years. These freedoms are temporary, of course, and rarely concurrent. But they are at times all we have, and it seems suitable if humble tribute to capture and share some of their spirit in music. Thank you for listening. I hope you enjoy it.