Podcast #1-2. Jayne Cortez & the Firespitters: Cheerful & Optimistic

I’ve been meaning to write about Jayne Cortez & the Firespitters for a long time, but I don’t think writing about this album would do as much justice as listening it. Cheerful & Optimistic is one of those acquisitions that just stick out in my collection. It’s not Japanese pop, it’s not indie rock, it’s not from the ’80s — it might be close to downtown New York stuff, but that’s a stretch. When I play this album in front of my family, they get annoyed by the repetition of Cortez’s verse. To my ears, it’s just musical punctuation.

I think there’s one Firespitters album available on CD Baby, but if you want to find her other works, good luck — I had to order mine through a magazine called Cadence. The difficulty of finding her albums pretty much discourages me from trying it again. Even her poetry is hard to find.

Cortez did record an album for her ex-husband Ornette Coleman’s label, Harmolodic, back in 1996, but that album is long out of print.

Some notes:

  • I finally learned about harmolodics about a year after I encountered Jayne Cortez through an interview with Coleman in Pulse! magazine.
  • It’s kind of weird for me to describe how “dark and chaotic” “War Devoted to War” gets when I don’t actually excerpt the part that gets dark and chaotic.
  • Yeah in retrospect, I’m not sure how African instruments and social consciousness really relate.

Songs featured:

  • Hello, Everybody
  • She Got He Got
  • Find Your Own Voice
  • War Devoted to War
  • I Wonder Who
  • Cheerful & Optimistic