Terry Riley: The Book of Abbeyozzud. 1999. New Albion: 106 CD.
Terry Riley: composer
David Tanenbaum: guitar
Gyan Riley: guitar
Tracy Silverman: violin
William Winant: percussion
This disc is such an inspired concept: Spanish-influenced guitar music composed by Terry Riley. I come back for regular doses of this one.
Jim Black: Alasnoaxis. 2000. Winter & Winter: 910061-2.
Jim Black: drums
Hilmar Jensson: electric guitar
Chris Speed: tenor saxophone, clarinet
Skuli Sverrisson: electric bass
Jim Black is one of those drummers you want to sit as close to as possible when seeing him play live because it's fascinating to watch how he gets all those amazing sounds with the drum kit and the assorted bits of toys and percussive shenanigans he brings to the stage. AlasNoAxis is the first disc he recorded with this quartet as the group leader and composer and as a recording the frenetic energy he brings to a live show comes out as a scatter shot of compositional ideas for this quartet. The focus is much more on the ensemble than the drum kit on this recording and the result is deeply pleasant to listen to.
Matthew Shipp Duo with Roscoe Mitchell: 2-Z. 1996. Thirsty Ear: 21312.2
Matthew Shipp: piano
Roscoe Mitchell: alto and soprano saxophones
Both of these improvisers are a force that's hard to ignore. And this recording is as compelling a collision between forces as one could expect from a feature-length free improvisation. Roscoe Mitchell has a long and impressive history as one of the great figures of the Chicago AACM scene while Matthew Shipp was early in his impressive recording/performing career at the time of this encounter. These players know how to lay thick slabs of sonic texture. But they also know how to pull back to reveal thin, quiet lines as well. It's that range that makes this listening experience so engaging.