Sunday, May 06, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: Of Bebop and Form

Michael Moore Trio: Chicoutimi. 1993. Ramboy #06.

Michael Moore: clarinet
Fred Hersch: piano
Mark Helias: bass

Over a span of 16 exquisite pieces this trio ranges through a lot of different textures. The balance between composition and improvisation - and the seamlessness between the two - makes for a rewarding listen. There's a spare softness to this music that draws the ears to the surprising ripples that sweep across the surface.

Joe Henderson: Mode for Joe. 1966. Blue Note: CDP 7 84227 2.

Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone
Lee Morgan: trumpet
Curtis Fuller: trombone
Bobby Hutcherson: vibes
Cedar Walton: piano
Ron Carter: bass
Joe Chambers: bass

When you reach for a Blue Note recording from this era - and with this lineup of musicians - you know you're going to hear something solid and enduring. I like Mode for Joe in particular because it features some Joe Henderson original compositions like "A Shade of Jade," "Caribbean Fire Dance" and "Granted." So many of the same qualities that made Henderson such a great improviser are lurking within these compositions and this ensemble brings it out.

James Tenney: Postal Pieces. 2004. Performed by the Barton Workshop. New World Records: 80612-2.

Eleven performances of a series of compositions consisting of instructions or notations that fit within the confines of a single postcard. These are radically simple conceptions that reveal a great deal about sound, form and the act of listening.

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