Tuesday, October 16, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: Derek, Gunda and McCoy

Derek Bailey/Cyro Baptista: Derek. 2006. Amulete Records: amt 023.

Derek Bailey: guitar
Cyro Baptista: percussion, voice

This one is a live set from New York's Tonic recorded in 2003. There's an extra element of reactive-ness between these free improvisers that is ever present in the sound. Unfamiliar to one another and unrehearsed, Baptista throws some interesting curves at Derek Bailey as the contrast between the guitar-centric sound against the timbrally varied voice and percussion comes into sharp relief. Bailey's playing provides a sense of gravity that keeps Baptista's whimsical language in check while that same whimsey ("Fred Estaire, I don't care") provides a buoyancy to Bailey's introversion.

Gunda Gottschalk: Wassermonde. 2002. Elephant Records: 002.

Gunda Gottschalk: violin, viola

The contours of the bow sawing across four adjacent strings takes on a raw physicality in the unique improvised language of Gunda Gottschalk. The arching form of this hour-long performance feels composed while the exquisite details take on a spontaneous vibrancy. With a tone that can be heart-stopping in its frailty or richly augmented with Gottschalk's voice surging into the sonic image this is a performance that balances thrilling aesthetic territory with composed intention. The moment-to-moment details are flawlessly molded into an overall form that makes for an intense and satisfying listening experience.

McCoy Tyner: The Real McCoy. 1967 - reissued in 1999. Blue Note Records: 7243 4 97807 2 9.

McCoy Tyner: piano
Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone
Ron Carter: bass
Elvin Jones: drums

This album was a tangible source of escape through hot summers spent sweeping floors in New Jersey while waiting for the next school year to commence. With headphones providing a distraction from dirt and humidity, "Passion Dance" allowed the mind and heart to soar. The Real McCoy still holds that same transcendent soaring quality as one of the great jazz records of all time. Tyner's solo on his ballad "Search for Peace" is an inspiration as a fellow ivory practitioner. This is a quartet of excellence in top form and a document for the ages.

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