The Free Orchestra Arises

The Raven Has Taken Flight!

Adventures in Music and Sound

A Retrospective on John Gruntfest
Broadcast on Resonance 104.4 FM
"The Wire: Adventures In Modern Music"
April 7, 2016

"Stevphen Shukaitis is hosting a radio show on the work of free jazz saxophonist and poet John Gruntfest. The show will broadcast Thursday April 7 from 9-10:30PM on Adventures in Sound & Music produced by music magazine The Wire, for London-based art and experimental radio station Resonance FM (104.4 FM in London and streaming online).

Gruntfest is a key, but overlooked figure, in the history of free jazz and experimental music. He has been experimenting and creating in multiple mediums since the sixties. He played music and did radical theatre on the streets of New York with such groups as the Pageant Players, the Motherfuckers, Bread and Puppet Theatre, and the Living Theatre."

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An Interview with John Gruntfest (www.metamute.org)

No Stars, No Solos – Just Sound, Motion, and Energy: An Interview with John Gruntfest

by Stevphen Shukaitis
December 10, 2015

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RFO Trickster


As the Raven was travelling along
he called out for a crew, they say.
He asked a lot of different birds to join his crew.
The Steller’s Jay said that he was ready.
“No,” he told him.
“You’re too old.”

That one said again that he was definitely coming.
Then this one grabbed him by the topknot
and gave it a good yank, they say.
And that one’s head got long and thin on top, they say.
And then he gave up calling for a crew.

Then everybody went aboard the boat,
and then they headed off.
They travelled and travelled and travelled.

SKAAY of the Qquuna Qiighawaay
(Robert Bringhurst — Being In Being)

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A Dissembling Advertisement

You are thinking of three things that will change your life, but before you can act on any one of them this sentence ends. What to do?

The Entire Default System Employed For Better Sanity In The Universe, Some Say Beyond, is just around the corner of your bend:

John Gruntfest’s Raven Free Orchestra Arises

This Default System installs in the Ear Of Your Ear as easily as showing up for yourself, unless you don’t, in which case you will simply be left with your head.

Why do mice go into outer space? is answered tastefully when you appear to appear at The Raven Free Orchestra, a Non-Prophet Spectacle not seen or heard since seeing was believing and herds were listened to.

Let’s review:
1. The Raven Free Orchestra
2. Your Mind Mice                


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  1. The Raven
    The raven has shpilkos on the beach walking back and forth
    with his wings behind his back
    The raven has an idea
    The raven tries a joke
  2. The Clamshell People:
    The raven finds a clamshell and the clamshell people scurry around hiding in fear
    Breath begins
    The raven has a licentious dream
  3. The Master Carver Shaman Child
    Magic spit
    Hats and drums enter through the screen dancing and drumming around the room
    The four directions are signified
  4. Joy Bringer
    Sun Treader

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There was a sound
they say
that traveled through the megaverse
like gravity waves
It thundered the earth
and set humans vibrating

In time
humans learned to make this sound
they say
and use its magic, its healing powers

Many good things were done
much harmoniousness was created
and children born of good parents
they say
cried in this musical way

Even the plants, the birds, the animals
vibrated this way
they say
understood this way
talked this way
lived this way

Then one day
they say
humans began to argue
about whose sound was better, purer, clearer
who owned the sound
controlled the magic

Then it was silent
they say
there was no sound
humans tried to make the sound
but it went away
they say

And children born of good parents
no longer cried in this musical way
but simply whined and complained

So now it is time
to make the sound again
they say
to let all creatures
be of the sound
and know its joy, its harmoniousness
so that all children
born of good parents
may live and thrive

And this is where it begins

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