Monday, November 19, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: Feeling the Taint, Feeling the Esteem, Puzzled About the Computer

Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet: Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet. 2003. Ropeadope Music Entertainment: 0-7567-93183-2-9.

Skerik: tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone
Joe Doria: hammond organ
John Wicks: drums
Steve Moore: trombone, wurlitzer electric piano
Hans Teuber: alto saxophone, flute
Dave Carter: trumpet
Craig Flory: baritone saxophone

A big horn section steeped in the dirty dozen brass band sound combined with a rhythm section steeped in funk, this disc packs some serious groove, stunning arrangements and a healthy dose of the old New Orleans vibe. The wurlitzer electric piano of Steve Moore combined with Dave Carter's trumpet evokes the Zawinul and Miles sound of In A Silent Way on "Bus Barn" while the even spread of compositions from all members of this group draws from several quarters of jazz history that favors the ensemble sound over showcasing extended individual solos.

Steve Lacy Quintet: Esteem. 1975. Released in 2004. Atavistic: ALP260CD.

Steve Lacy: soprano saxophone
Steve Potts: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone
Irene Aebi: cello, violin
Kent Carter: bass
Kenneth Tyler: percussion

This one is a slice of the great soprano saxophonist with his quintet in the midst of a long-running stint at La Cour des Miracles in Paris. And there's a quality to these performances that comes from like minded improvisers with a long history - and secure future - of playing together. With Aeibi on the violin this music reminds me of the sonic qualities of Albert Ayler's quintet's stint at La Cave in Cleveland (as found on the excellent Holy Ghost box set). There are even a few gestures from Lacy that sound like signature Ayler riffs. But these compositions are unmistakably Lacy's and there's some great takes on several of them. The appeal of "The Uh Uh Uh" is immediate while the sprawling, long version of "The Duck" offers plenty for the ears to sink into.

Radiohead: OK Computer. 1997. EMI Records: 7243 8 55229 2 5.

I may be the last pair of ears to finally get around to Radiohead - more than a decade after OK Computer was released. It's odd how it's fine to revel in something Ornette Coleman recorded in 1959 while taking in the 1998 nominee for Best Alternative Music Album and Album of the Year this late in the game feels like a form of cultural delinquency. Triple platinum or not, this is my first time hearing this material and my first Radiohead listening experience. The consistent buzz surrounding this band - and this release in particular - in the music blogs makes a strong argument for the durability of this music. And I really don't know what to say about it. It's good. Good enough to warrant further investigation of Radiohead's other releases. But I'm puzzled about the enthusiasm. Perhaps this one needs a few more spins in the rotation to get a handle on it.

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