Wednesday, April 25, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: Anderson, Coleman, Hill

Laurie Anderson: Life on a String. 2001. Nonesuch: 79539-2.
Laurie Anderson: vocals, keyboards, violins, gongs
with various (small) combinations of:
Elena Barere: concert master - Joey Baron: drums, percussion - Martin Brumback: percussion arrangement - Vinicius Cantuaria: percussion - Mino Cinelu: percussion - Timothy Cobb: bass - Greg Cohen: acoustic bass - Jill Dell'Abate: orchestra conductor - Enrico DiCecco: violin - Jonathan Dinklage: violin - Karen Dreyfus: viola - Barry Finclair: violin - Danny Frankel: percussion, hand claps, "box-o-toys" - Eric Friedlander: cello - Bill Frisell: guitar - Jean Ingram: violin - Mitchell Froom: keyboards, claviola, mellotron, wurlitzer - Liheng: baritone banhu - Vincent Lionti: viola - Eyvind Kang: violin - John Kelly: background vocals - Ann Leathers: violin - Jeanne LeBlanc: cello - Dwight Mikkelsen: copyist - Heidi Modr: violin - Jan Mullen: violin - Tom Nelis: vocals - Van Dyke Parks: string arrangements, conductor, keyboards - Ellen Payne: violin - Joel Pitchon: violin - Sue Pray: viola - Lou Reed: guitar - Ben Rubin: bells - Peter Scherer: keyboards, percussion - Jamshied Sharifi: additional keyboards, strings - Ricky Sortomme: violin - Skuli Sverrisson: bass, little organ, percussion programming, high bass, sounds, bowed guitars, keyboards - Chris Speed: saxophone - Cuong Vu: trumpet - Carol Webb: violin - Judith Willmer: viola - Hal Willner: turntables, samples - Mocean Worker: beats, keyboards - Fredrick Zlotkin: cello
This disc is dripping with good taste. For all the production, collaboration and detail in this studio effort, the end result ultimately enhances the understated poetry that makes these songs work. There are some great players involved in this project. Yet the sound is unmistakably Anderson's as she molds the right textures for what she has to say.

Ornette Coleman: Dedication to Poets and Writers. Recorded at Town Hall, 1962. Magic Music: 30010-CD.
Ornette Coleman: saxophone
David Izenzohn: bass
Charles Moffett: percussion
Selwart Clark: violin
Nathan Goldstein: violin
Julian Barber: viola
Kermit Moore: cello
This disc has long been a personal favorite for me. This was Ornette Coleman's first project after breaking onto the scene with his great quartet of the late 1950's and early 1960's. And he was already staking out creative directions that would continue to unfold throughout his career (finally earning him a Pulitzer Prize this year. He can add it to his lifetime achievement Grammy. I'm still lobbying for the international holiday.).
This concert presents Ornette's new trio, plus a string quartet and various combinations of the two ensembles. The sonic results are staggering as each piece represents an incredible new direction that he would continue to pursue over the decades. "Dedication to Poets and Writers" is a piece for string quartet that needs to be added to the canon of works for that medium. My ears can't get enough of that harmolodic chamber music. The fact that Ornette did not record or perform for two years after this concert suggests that people weren't ready for the boundary smashing that Ornette's genius had already undertaken.

Andrew Hill: Point of Departure. 1964. Blue Note: 7243 4 99007 2 1.
Andrew Hill: piano, compositions
Kenny Dorham: trumpet
Eric Dolphy: alto saxophone, flute, bass clarinet
Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone
Richard Davis: bass
Tony Williams: drums

Right from the first note of the first track, "Refuge" kicks this off with one of those compositions, sounds and performances that is so essential that one cannot imagine jazz without it. Great personnel. Great compositions. This disc is a true must have in any serious jazz collection.

And "Refuge" isn't the only essential track on this collection. Andrew Hill's compositional sensibilities were in full force for this session and I don't think he ever let up.

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