Monday, October 15, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: From Lapse to Grace

Andrew Drury: A Momentary Lapse. 2003. Innova: 581.

Andrew Drury: compositions, drums
Eyvind Kang: violin
Briggan Krauss: alto saxophone, clarbone
Chris Speed: tenor saxophone, clarinet
Myra Melford: piano
Mark Dresser: bass

A Momentary Lapse covers a lot of compositional territory that allows the massive improvisational forces of these great players plenty of room to maneuver and paint large, vibrant sonic canvases. From the unmistakable Krauss screams on the alto saxophone of "The Schwartzes" to the clear, Dresser-tones on "Keep the Fool," this is an all-star ensemble focused on some stellar compositions.

Bill Frisell/Dave Holland/Elvin Jones: Bill Frisell with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones. 2001. Nonesuch Records: 79624-2.

Bill Frisell: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, loops
Dave Holland: bass
Elvin Jones: drums

This is one of those Bill Frisell records that the ear keeps reaching for out of fascination with how this rhythm section plays these familiar Frisell compositions. The sound is squarely in the Americana realm and Holland and Jones turn in a laid back, supportive performance. There's so much detail lurking around the edges of this sound in how this trio brings out the melodic phrasing and the relaxed sense of time. These make for definitive interpretations of Frisell's "Twenty Years," "Tell Your Ma, Tell Your Pa" and "Convict 13." At least these are the arrangements that come to mind when I reflect upon them. The interpretations of the non-Frisell "Moon River" and "Hard Times" are also particularly engaging and a hint of the depth of music lurking within all three of these players.

Michele Rabbia/Marilyn Crispell/Vincent Courtois: Shifting Grace. 2006. Camjazz: CAMJ 7791-2.

Michele Rabbia: percussion
Marilyn Crispell: piano
Vincent Courtois: cello

Opening with Crispell's incredible piano playing bathed in warm reverb - perhaps a bit more reverb than I care for - this trio of outstanding improvisers "shift" between duos, solos and the full trio over a span of a dozen brief pieces of incredible restraint and detail. The brevity lends to an aching, wispy quality that pulls away before any trace of indulgence can form. Rabbia's bowed cymbals and silence-framed percussion is a perfect layer for this intense and quiet music. Courtois runs a wider gamut of dynamic range as he pulls sustained crescendos on sustained tones into sharp focus.

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