By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
On a typical day when he's not touring or teaching, Golia gets up at around 7:30 and attends to the faxes, orders and bookkeeping of the Nine Winds business, writes music at his computer till 10 a.m., practices into the afternoon, and goes back to writing at night. While his financial status is always precarious, he and his girlfriend share a Silver Lake house and a nice garden, and even had trumpet legend Freddie Hubbard as a neighbor for a while.
"I was warming up on a horn and my girlfriend said, 'The man next door wants to meet you - says he plays trumpet. Some old guy in a bathrobe.'"
In his youth, Hubbard dabbled in the avant-garde himself; it's suggested to Golia that Freddie might have found the rewards rather slim.
"Are there rewards?" says Golia. "I guess I'll keep doin' it, then."
The Vinny Golia Quintet (featuring Alex Cline, Nels Cline, John Fumo and Mike Elizando) plays a free show at the L.A. County Museum on Friday, August 14, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The Nine Winds Web site is at http://members.aol.com/ninewinds/, or write P.O. Box 10082, Beverly Hills, CA 90213.
On Nine Winds
"Improvisation starts with other cultures that we take from rather freely," says Golia. "Most of it is based on spiritual music, and really great music always has that element to it. If you take the Byrds' 'Eight Miles High,' there's a kind of questing, an excitement.
Even the best hardcore punk has that. It's like Albert Ayler energy."
Here's a sampling of the CDs released on Nine Winds in the last year or so.
With Vinny Golia
The Vinny Golia Large Ensemble, Portland 1996. Modern classical underpinnings with a ferocious urban attitude; random overtures build to staggering monstrosities. Somebody find a big hall; this 26-piece unit needs to play L.A. more often.
The Rob Blakeslee Quartet, Spirit of the Times. Portland trumpeter Blakeslee, the best edge-jazz composer on the West Coast, focuses his perfect clarity of vision through Golia, bassist Ken Filiano and ectoplasmic drummer Billy Mintz.
Wadada Leo Smith/Vinny Golia/Bertram Turetzky, Prataksis. It's not for nothing that all three teach at Southland universities; their fluid melodic and harmonic improvisations on trumpet, winds and bass define mastery.
Jeff Kaiser, Nothing Is Not Breath. An octet with the nuance of a duo supports Kaiser's compositions: sort of Russian processionals set free.
The Paul Smoker/Vinny Golia Quartet, Halloween, The Sequel. New York free jazz the way it used to be.
Without Vinny Golia
Queen Mab, Barbie's Other Shoe. The fairy-monarch group name and the whimsical title are misleading. Canadians Marilyn Lerner (piano) and Lori Freedman (clarinets) offer emotion, conception, technical command and sheer substance.
David Johnson/Ken Rosser, Dual Force. A clean, full, distinctive extrapolation on African pop and Brazilian sway from this marimba-guitar duo.
The Walter Thompson Orchestra, The Colonel. New York conductor Thompson promotes Sound Painting, a system of 300 gestures to influence players' improvisation on his compositions, which range from spasmodic to woozy.
Jeff Gauthier Quartet, The Present; Steuart Liebig, Quartetto Stig: Pienso Oculto. I plug these L.A. geniuses all the time. Catch them at every opportunity.