Tuesday, September 04, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: Two Blue Notes and a Ramboy

Ornette Coleman: At the Golden Circle, Volume One. 1964, re-issued in 2002. Blue Note Records: 7243 5 35518 2 7.

The Ornette Coleman Trio, recorded live at Gyllene Cirkeln, Stockholm on December 3-4, 1965:
Ornette Coleman: compositions, alto saxophone
David Izenzon: bass
Charles Moffett: drums

A brilliantly re-mastered (thank you, Rudy Van Gelder) and augmented (the alternate takes add some significant depth and time to this experience) set from this legendary trio from 1964. This is my first time hearing "European Echoes," and it's an unusual part of the Ornette Coleman canon. But as a thematic launching pad for inspired trio improvisation it holds my ears through both versions contained on this disc. The clarity of the individual players on this recording brings out the artistic mastery of both bassist David Izenzon and drummer Charles Moffett, both sadly no longer with us. They prove to be an excellent rhythm section for Ornette's creative and far reaching playing.

Don Byron: Do the Boomerang:the Music of Junior Walker. 2006. Blue Note Records: 0946 3 41094 2.

Don Byron: tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
David Gilmore: guitar
George Colligan: hammond b-3 organ
Brad Jones: bass
Rodney Holmes: drums, tambourine
Curtis Fowlkes: trombone
Chris Thomas King: vocals, guitar
Dean Bowman: vocals

It's no secret that I picked up this disc to hear Don Byron. Being completely unfamiliar with the music of Junior Walker it was the strength of Byron's previous projects that drew me toward this experience. Byron has introduced my ears to unfamiliar composers and fresh interpretations of familiar ones from a wide swath of genres and he typically makes a believer out of me. Byron has happily pulled me into the musical worlds of Mickey Katz, Raymond Scott, Frederic Chopin, Stephen Sondheim, and Billy Strayhorn just to name a few. And he's also recorded impressive collections of his own compositions as he skirts into Latin, hip hop and swing. With Do The Boomerang Byron takes a spin at the Motown sound of the 1960s and actually spends more time playing tenor saxophone than his usual clarinet. 1960s Motown is about as remote from my own sensibilities as it gets so it's taken some extra spins in the rotation to hook me on this sound. And today I'm hooked. This one really hits the spot with its steady grooves and outstanding production values.

Available Jelly: Monuments. 1993. Ramboy: 07.

Eric Boeren: tumpet, alto horn
Jimmy Sernesky: trumpet
Michael Moore: alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
Tobias Delius: tenor saxophone
Gregg Moore: trombone, tuba, mandolin, electric bass
Alexei Levin: piano, accordion, organ
Eric Calmes: bass, bass guitar
Michael Vatcher: percussion

Each listening to Monuments reveals layers of compositional detail, humor and inspired playing that catch the ear in a new way. Music as intricately and beautifully arranged as this begs to be observed from multiple angles. The rich dynamic range, the humor and the tasteful balance between horns and rhythm section keeps everything fresh as one grows more familiar with the abrupt transitions and inspired moments. It leaves me curious to hear more Ramboy releases.

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