Saturday, June 09, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: The Good Plus, Live from Birdland and Variations on a Russian Theme

Wayne Horvitz/The Four Plus One Ensemble: From a Window. 2001. Avant (Japan): Avan 080.

Wayne Horvitz: piano, prepared piano, hammond B-3, pump organ, synthesizers, toy piano
Eyvind Kang: violin, viola
Tucker Martine: live electronic processing, live drum machine
Julian Priester: trombone
Reggie Watts: keyboards, vocals, live drum machine, piano
+ Special Guest - Skerik: baritone saxophone

Tucker Martine is the Plus One of Four Plus One as he transparently applies a final sheen to the overall sound of this group with his live electronic processing. This music shimmers through his creative filtering. Yet every gesture, melodic line and arrangement clearly originates from Wayne Horvitz as the sometimes thick textures on this disc are woven from some of the most frail threads of fragmented melodies and hypnotic ostinatos.

Andrew Hill: A Beautiful Day. 2002. Palmetto Records: PM 2085.

Andrew Hill: piano
Scott Colley: bass
Nasheet Waits: drums
Aaron Stewart: tenor saxophone
John Savage: alto saxophone, flute
Marty Ehrlich: alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute
Greg Tardy: tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
J.D. Parron: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet
Ron Horton: trumpet
Dave Ballou: trumpet
Laurie Frinck: trumpet
Bruce Staalens: trumpet
Charlie Gordon: trombone
Joe Fiedler: trombone
Mike Fahn: trombone
Jose D'Avila: tuba

The variation in densities with this ensemble is a source of dynamic beauty. With the luxury of thick textures given the size of this group combined with the arranging prowess of Andrew Hill it seems like an added bonus to have moments of clarity where individuals step into the foreground with some outstanding solos. This is a live recording from New York's Birdland and it must have been a series of monster sets. I'm more impressed with this material each time I hear it.

Ludwig van Beethoven: The Complete Quartets - Volume III. Recorded in 1994. Performed by the Orford String Quartet. Delos: DE 3033.

Andrew Dawes: violin
Kenneth Perkins: violin
Terence Helmer: viola
Denis Brott: cello

String Quartet in F Major, op. 59 no. 1 "Razumaovsky Quartet"
String Quartet in A Major, op. 18 no. 5

Of all the Beethoven I've indulged in recently it is this first Razumaovsky Quartet that has impressed me the most. It initially whetted my appetite for the late-Beethoven works that lie ahead for these ears when the thematic development began to reveal itself as something profoundly inspired. It may be these middle-period Beethoven works that reveal significant details in the transition from Classical to Romantic aesthetics. The melodic lines in the cello part through the third movement were particularly startling as they seemed to propel things along some unfamiliar paths - unfamiliar in the "classical" sense. At 42+ minutes this chamber piece seems to swell the 4-movement classical form right to the bursting point - but this duration is clearly necessary to contain the scope of the ideas found in this composition.

No comments: