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BRUNO & PEGGY KICKS - KICKSEXTREMERADIO (Belgium): Absolutely amazing compositions in a truly timeless unique style. Book III is truly a classic! It's great to hear musicians who keep the integrity to their own voice.

STEVEN LOEWY - CADENCE MAGAZINE OCT-NOV-DEC 2008: There's something about Charles Morrison Britt. Whether or not you enjoy his straightforward poetry and gruff and gravely speaking voice, you cannot deny his powerful presence. Although he is backed by a large musical ensemble, with outstanding West Coast musicians including luminaries Michael Vlatkovich, Vinny Golia, Glen Horiuchi, and Bill Roper, this is Britt's gig, and his presence dominates. That said, there are some very good solos interspersed throughout, and Vlatkovich's compositions and arrangements are uniformly superb, with a twisted Swing feel and many will eagerly await the trombonist's big band album (hopefully, sans voice). You might even call this one Anthony Braxton meets Philip Dick meets Gregory Corso. Vlatkovich layers sounds and mixes genres, in what is arguably his best writing on disc. He interweaves soloists with quirky melodies and twisted lines that are original though ensconced in the big band tradition. This works particularly well on "Francis Cheeks," where the piece cradles high-energy solos by the late pianist Glen Horiuchi and saxophonist Jay Hutson. Vlatkovich impresses, too, as a performer, taking solos on several pieces. Britt writes and speaks of feelings, and, as with any good poet, he utters truths about life and death. He has thought about what is important and he often hits the mark. While some are likely to find his delivery tiresome by the final track, there is no denying its serious heartfelt messages, even with a warped sense of humor and sometimes exaggerated delivery. Speaking in the vernacular, Britt's roots might be traced to the Beats, but Britt is less angry and more responsible, even if not less radical.

MASSIMO RICCI - TOUCHINGEXTREMES.ORG: Transvalue are an amalgamation of talking turmoil and spectacular arrangements, existing since 1980. Its core members are trombonist and composer Michael Vlatkovich, spoken word artist Chuck Britt and percussionist David Crigger; the circle of aides for this CD encompasses a lot of terrific musicians, Vinny Golia being a name that was immediately recognized here. The record is quite long at over 76 minutes, and listening to a somewhat belligerent voice speaking for long stretches may be demanding sometimes - especially for the non-well versed in the English idiom - but boy, can these guys play. There’s not a note out of position, and after a while one even manages to become au fait with Britt’s not-instantly-gratifying rasping tone, which is more or less ever present (although not at all times in a nonstop manner: there are also duets - and lots of beautiful ensemble singing, too). The orchestrations called to memory several beloved entities of mine: Zappa (circa “Greggery Peccary” and “The Grand Wazoo”) on top of everything, The Tubes, British jazz (a number of sections reminded me, in short tracts, of Kenny Wheeler), the whole typified both by drama and thrilled outbursts - exactly as in an archetypal musical. The technical altitude remains persistently remarkable, the eminence of the instrumentalists triumphing upon any potential defect (and I didn’t find so many indeed). My foot was often caught tapping when listening to this. Give these chaps an opportunity: although not really devising anything new, they just sound gorgeous.

NOEL TACHET - TARAN'S FREE JAZZ HOUR : Chuck Britt, Michael Vlatkovich, David Crigger, Vinnie Golia, etc. ... This is a hurricane and you fall on rubble with the first notes of Transvalue Book III. The thunderous voice of Chuck Britt and the power of his words are supported by a big band playing Michael Vlatkovich’s score which is capable of constant change without losing any of the momentum that physically moves you. A mad embrace of life prevails. The voice and orchestra are tight and without economy, shamelessly and with pleasure unpacking and removing intimate memories that could be embarrassing (text and music are available on the Transvalue site at: It is all purely American without doubt, all the more because he is an eastern American on the west coast and he comes in a car. I am listening to this CD for the nth time, and I can’t stop listening to write. I am struck by the words that escape from the voice of Chuck Britt, and the whirlwind of Vlatkovich. The solos are up to the rest. This once in a lifetime machine, is fuelled and at maximum power searching out our violence and tenderness with deadly accuracy.
- Translated by Google and cmb

RIGOBERT DITTMAN - BAD ALCHEMY (Germany): What is this? A poem cycle in big band jazz clothes? Affinities: Zappa, Yellow Shark? The cabaret-punk orchestra, World / Inferno Friendship Society? City of Mirrors, Motor Totemist Guild?  Woodwinds four (including Vinny Golia), four Brass, Bass (Domenic Genova), piano, chorus, this is big! David Crigger on drums, organ & Electronics, and also for recording and mixing. Most compositions are by the trombonist & Thankyou Records label artist, Michael Pierre Vlatkovich, a fixture on the West Coast, especially in the Vinny Golia Large Ensemble and Jeff Kaiser Octet. The libretto comes from Chuck Britt, his poetry is recited in sing-speech style. The TRANSVALUE collaboration has been in place since 1980.  Book I appeared in 1985, and in 1988 Book II followed (Teapot in a Tempest). In Book III, Britt’s memories lead us back to his early years in Ohio: The ’58 Retractable Hardtop “I sit in the '58 retractable hard top (parked in the side yard) / It opens up and down like a Nike silo / But I don’t feel safe ... I feel embarrassed / As I wait for Father / Up and down / Playing the radio all the time / Wishing for a "normal" adolescence / American Bandstand girls and buddies to teach me about sex”. The dominant father casts his shadow. I Have These Tears is also pervaded by childhood fears, insecurity and salty tracks. With Wars for the Numb (01-21-91) and Wedding Song Britt makes the transition away from the family front:  “Eons of fear and voiceless estrangement / Eons of coercion, violation and destruction/ Hopeless and waste hidden behind racial, regional and national chauvinism”, to politics: “Oh War, please entertain us / Keep us numb, we pray / If you abandon us / Our pain will be upon us ... “. But Britt also makes the next leap in The Kissing Song (Composition by Warren Hartman) beyond his father, to say yes to the course of events and fall in love, even if only like a dog chasing its own tail. Britt is not a formalist, he wears his heart on the tongue. The stories are much more than an ego trip, in fact they inspire the great music of TRANSVALUE, like the tango, Not Knowing with it’s circus music and Ultra Lounge brass arrangement that gives one the arm around the waist and the tongue-in-the-cheek, Britt’s emotions brush against the grain, with his grating presentation itself the yeast steering us in the opposite direction.
- Translated by Google and cmb

JEREMY KEENS - AMPERSAND ETCETERA (Australia) : Another out of the blue - Transvalue are Chuck Britt (vocals) Michael Vlatkovich (trombone, composition) and David Crigger (drums, electronics) with an extensive cast of supporters on instruments and vocals. As the title implies, this is the third release, out on thankyou records.  And if you get this it is worth going to the site - because one centre of this album is the words: Britt is a beat-influenced flamboyant wordsmith and reciter. These are complex dramatic amusing and evocative poems put to music, and delivered musically (not a spoken-word album). There are choruses and hooks to his lyrics, they are rich in detail metaphor and humanity, and drive the album forward. In many pieces, as a good performance poet, there are repeated elements of words (such as "know" in Not knowing, or "Yes" in For Alec from Pappy or structural elements such as the ten-year steps of The father or the memory returns of The New Day) that offer pace and focus. Themes include relationships, politics, remembrance that are specific and universal. But there is also the music created by Vlatkovich. This varies from relatively straightforward big-band jazz in Of Dancers or The New Day, a tango of Not Knowing, or the nostalgic piano and alto of Frances' Cheeks, in all of which there are extensive solos like the piano and then trumpet that plays while they dance to the flute and drum in The New Day. In The Father the music follows the lines of the song, while in Wars For The Numb (02-21-91) there is a dense bed of percussive processing that suits the song and For Alec from Pappy has a similar but less dark soundscape. The music combines careful and sympathetic writing with the freedom to improvise. There are two extended tracks - the ostensible title track is a lovely development of a father/son theme that traverses 50's doowop, faster group work, choruses and a final reflective coda: a wild ride in the hardtop indeed, Wedding Song - which opens 'The horror/Only survivors made us/Eons of fear and voiceless estrangement/Eons of coercion, violation and destruction/No one knew' is the most complex lyrically - the poem appears to be an epithalmion which balances the despair and fear with the hope which is represented by love and family. The music reflects this complexity, a pastoral opening is undone by the lyrics and then includes operatic/chorale elements with additional voices and slipping through a variety of styles. I am not sure that it is 100% effective but it is absorbing. And then, to end the album, comes a further surprise - pianist Hartman wrote the music for The Kissing Song, a gentle piece with a yearning cello line through that offers a final reflective passage, underscored by Britt's vocals - and I mean vocals. To this point he has been gruff spoken/recitative but here he sings with a mellow croonerish 50s tone that swings the album in a different direction, ending on a subtle note.  The three (old) geezers on the cover of this album, the cheesy colours and layout of it and the site, belie an album of breadth, musicality and sophistication which is a surprise and delight.

EDUARDO CHAGAS - JAZZ e ARREDORES (Portugal) : EDUARDO CHAGAS - JAZZ e ARREDORES (Portugal) In TRANSVALUE BOOK III David Crigger, Chuck Britt and Michael Vlatkovich created the third part of the TRANSVALUE saga. The CD is subtitled, “The ’ 58 Retractable Hardtop”, and is released by Thankyou Records through Transvalue Press.  This production links poetry (spoken word) and music of many types: jazz, pop, funk, music of the cinema, the circus, the casino, serious classical music, cabaret crooning, and the familiar sounds of life and very much more. The poetry, which covers subjects like sex, morality and transcendence, is in the best tradition of the beat poets. Chuck Britt recites with a flexible voice and great timing.  He is able to reach many registers and accents in each line with the necessary quantum of emotion to create the intended effect. The basic trio is reinforced and expanded substantially with the addition of notable members of the North American improvisational and experimental music community including:  Dominic Genova (bass), Glenn Horiuchi (piano), Vinny Golia, Jay Hutson and Bill Plake (sax), Lou Gonzales and Mark Underwood (trumpets), George McMullen (trombone), William Roper (tuba), Melanie Cracchiolo and Chuck Sabatino (vocals), Warren Hartman (keyboards), Mike Turner (congas), Matt Cooker (violin), Jeanette Wrate (percussion).  With a feel of the 70's, this disc was produced with the same pleasure and impudence what Frank Zappa put into his best productions of that time. Lush arrangements are built up and become almost conventional but soon they are shredded and re-sewn into truly new clothing. The feminine voices are another strong component in this multifaceted universe of colors, tastes and ideas. Flashy and noisy, technically competent and flooding with creative ideas, this is a simple, spontaneous, witty and serious adventure into megalomania. Book III is worth the effort and the time.
- Translated from Portuguese by Google

GUY DAROL - METROPOLIS (France): For nearly three decades, Michael Vlatkovich (trombonist and composer), Chuck Britt (poet and performer), David Crigger (drummer and sound designer) have united their inventiveness to produce trance instrumentals and vocals in line with Tom Waits, Mark Twain, Charles Bukowski and Anthony Braxton. TRANSVALUE is a pleasant but strange salad/sound/creation and the taste of shinning verbs spanning all styles. Some hear Captain Beefheart on a Rabelais horse. Others notice very troubling affinities with the world of Zappa: doo wop rubs funk with a brass deluge. This album is the third part of a trilogy in which the trio, brims with energy and is more than convincing. The speaking voice of Chuck Britt, grating and cavernous, perches above a vast body of instruments sounding like a film score of horrors and farces. Funny, carnival improvisation, musical or noisy citations, pharaonic arrangements resulting in a muscular journey. At 18, David Crigger debuted in the orchestra of Don Ellis and then he accompanied Brian Auger and George Duke before joining Burt Bacharach. His bizarre electronic quirks are important to the whole. Michael Vlatkovich moves with a strange (which means absolute originality) security that ricochets sometimes between waltz and tango, sometimes reminding us of Kinderszenen by Robert Schumann.  This kind of writing enters the head of the listener and never leaves. He must have seen 200 Motels, the film from the Mack Sennett psyches of Frank Zappa and Tony Palmer, to grasp the possibilities and give birth to this delicious and frilly sound.

GUY DAROL - AGITATEUR CONSEIL (France): Inversion of all values. The nietzschéens of Transvalue are three (Michalel Vlatkovitch, Chuck Britt, David Crigger) and sound like twenty-five. This is the approximate number of soldiers present on this album, the third opus delivering battle against music standard. A beat poetry trio led by the spoken word artist Chuck Britt. That means (open hatches and large quinquets) that the eleven tracks on this gem run simultaneously and in turn the world of Mark Twain and Anthony Braxton, Richard Brautigan and Frank Zappa, Charles Bukowski and Charles Ives. But it should still include Captain Beefheart, George Duke, Ornette Coleman, Duke Ellington, Federico Fellini, Roy Rowland, Astor Piazzola. You follow? Work monumental juicy, ocean zoroastrale.
- Translated from French by Google and cmb

Notes: I think when Guy mentions “nietzschéens” and “zoroastrale” he is referring to Friedrich Nietzsche who talks about the Transvaluation of Values in his philosophy (from which our group filched the name TRANSVALUE) and in Nietzsche’s famous book Thus Spoke Zarathustra which refers to Zoroaster the Persian prophet and religious poet.  - cmb


I just received your truly interesting CD, TRANSVALUE BOOK lll. I usually check out bits of cuts, I have my earphones on!!!  I am the dj for THE LATEST SCORE on WOMR FM in Provincetown, Ma and streaming at  I play new art music and everything that rubs up against it. Your rubbing a groove! I notice your listed under ROCK but I haven't heard that yet. It sounds like new art music to me!  Every time I play from this album I will email you the particulars.

Thank you for the music,

Canary Burton
Wellfleet, Ma   streaming 24/7

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I just want to say thanks so much for sending WPVM a copy of the new Transvalue CD.  It is definitely up our alley in terms of the progressive, thought-provoking jazz that we love to play.
Jonathan Price
WPVM Jazz Director
Ashville, NC, USA

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David Gregor
W T U L   FM 91.5

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I really enjoyed the new CD. Even better than the last one I'd say. It harkens to some of the great iconolclasts like John Trubee, Carla Bley's JCOA period, and even Zappa. Excellent work and I look forward to airing asap.

Thanks, Don
Don Campau
No Pigeonholes broadcasts your music in three different ways.
FM Radio> KKUP, 91.5 FM in Cupertino, California broadcasts live to the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas twice a month. The second and fourth Sundays 3-5 PM

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Thank you for sending me a copy of your latest disc Transvalue III. It's great and I will start playing it on air as of next week on The Spice of Life, one of two shows I have here in Sydney. Just out of curiosity, how did you find out about my show (assuming you sent me the disc). After having digested in greater detail what you have sent me I would like to do an interview at some stage.

Regards, thanks again and best wishes from the real land of Oz.

Hans Stoeve
Powerspot (not just a world music show)
2SER FM Wednesday Nights 1900-2030
The Spice of Life
2SER FM Tuesday Afternoon 1330-1500
listen online @
 Sydney Australia

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I received your Book III this morning, it is full of blood and knowledge, a friendly hurricane! I will send you the review (in french) I will write for Improjazz. Thanks a lot for this lively music, yours

Noël Tachet
Saint-Hilaire Saint Florent
Saumur, France

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TRANSVALUE: Book III – The ’58 Retractable Hardtop  
Thankyou, 2008

Gonzo mix of beat poetry and avant-garde jazz out of LA, with some great players. Chuck Britt growls out humorous, angry or philosophical poems (many about family or crises of the self) with gusto, and the band is all over the place. There’s more than a touch of Frank Zappa in here... it’s weird and wild and wonderful, how can you not love it?

Simply awesome. Fo’s Picks: 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10

Fo Reviewed 2008-06-14
Stanford California

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Hello, first sorry for my english... is very bad! I received your cd, i liked, listen in my radio program, thanks!!!

Kisses from spain
Nando Caballero
"L'altra cara de la lluna"
Barcelona, Spain

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