All hail the Shaking Ray Levis…

The Shaking Ray Levis remain one of America’s unheralded SOUTHERN free-improv treasures. They have been active in performance, teaching, and organizing in the region since 1986. The 1993 Shaking Ray Levis Festival in Chattanooga, Tennessee was one of the most important festivals of the period, featuring sets by Anthony Braxton, “the last working Southern black minstrel” Abner Jay, Caroliner Rainbow and others…far and away beyond the present day Bonnaroos.

Here is a 20-minute mini-documentary about the festival by filmmaker Michael Johnson.

BONUS CLIP: An excerpt from one of Derek Bailey’s final USA performances, at Tonic in NYC with the Shaking Ray Levis in 2003…

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About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in Tucson, Arizona with Stephanie Smith.

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