Farewell But Not Goodbye
Thursday, May 24, 2007
By Josef Woodard
FREEDOM HITS THE ROAD: Trying to wrap your mouth, let alone your brain, around the synthetic word pfMENTUM is a challenge. In some way, it belongs to the catalog of absurd utterances, like the “pshit” of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi, suitable for meaning whatever you care to bring to it. What better handle to give a record label and general cultural worldview such as those maintained by Jeff Kaiser?
Alas, although the iconoclastic Venturan (and “angry vegan”? That’s the name of pfMENTUM’s sister label) has become a cottage industry off to the left of normal in the extended neighborhood since the early ’90s, we may not have Kaiser to kick around anymore. The enterprising trumpeter/composer/computer musician/record label mini-mogul — and general avant-impresario— Kaiser is moving up and moving down south, to take a position at the noted experimental music safe house of UCSD. To pay respects and also get a hefty dose of great new music, check out his Farewell, Ventura! concert this Saturday night at Ventura City Hall. On the bill are the Jeff Kaiser Quintet, which he calls “my take on a free jazz rock band,” and his Ockodektet, or “my take on a BIG band.”
As a label, pfMENTUM has grown by leaps, bounds, and sidesteps in recent years, as Kaiser has taken on a wide range of adventurers, mostly from the Southern California area. Santa Barbara’s own gifted musical mayhem manager Jim Connolly has just released his third project on the label, by his rangy Gove County String Quartet (which performed recently at Center Stage, in the Iridian Arts series). To get the skinny on Kaiser, read up on him in a generous feature in the new issue of Cadence magazine. This extended town’s gonna seem mighty quiet and boring without Kaiser. Hopefully, he’ll make his way back up now and again and figuratively trash the joint a bit.