Paul Plimley Trio: Safe-Crackers. 1999. Les Disques VICTO: cd066
Paul Plimley: piano
Lisle Ellis: bass
Scott Amendola: drums
There is so much going on in Plimley's compositions/improvisations that it's hard to believe how effortless and unencumbered he makes it sound. There's an entire jazz tradition drawing upon Cecil Taylor, George Shearing and Paul Bley (just to name a few) running underneath these pieces and yet the sound is so unsaturated. It's like watching a 10-ton elephant floating on air. The interactions and the amount of space these performers give one another is outstanding. Scott Amendola has some of the softest, most satisfying brush-work I've heard recorded. This is a great disc.
Ron Miles (with Bill Frisell): Heaven. 2002. Sterling Circle Records: SC5151
Ron Miles: trumpet
Bill Frisell: guitar
Ron Miles and Bill Frisell have collaborated on several great projects together. This time around it's just the two of them for a set of duets for trumpet and guitar. These two have a real melodic compatibility and Ron Miles' original compositions catch my ear.
Harry Partch: Delusion of the Fury - A Ritual of Dream and Delusion
Conducted by Danlee Mitchell under the supervision of Harry Partch. 1971. Innova Records: 406.
This is a re-release of the first Partch recording I ever heard. The unbelievable first side from the vinyl of Harry Partch describing and demonstrating his instruments is sadly absent. But the brilliance and impact of this final opus of Harry Partch is well preserved. This work gives a glimpse of what opera could be if it hadn't strayed so far from its Greek origins. The instruments are on stage, incorporated into the overall drama, and the vocals preserve the intonation and rhythms of speech. One can almost sense Partch objecting to hearing a recording - separated from the corporeal whole of the theatrical experience - as the percussion and chanting seep from the speakers in a tale of magic and madness. This work needs to be re-staged.