Sunday, November 11, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: Finding Sanctuary

Dave Douglas: Sanctuary. 1996. Avant: Avan 066.

Dave Douglas: trumpet
Cuong Vu: trumpet
Yuka Honda: sampler
Anthony Coleman: sampler
Hilliard Greene: bass
Mark Dresser: bass
Chris Speed: tenor saxophone, clarinet
Dougie Bowne: drums

With a clear nod toward Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz recordings the almost-double band (with a single drummer panned to the center along with Speed's reeds) places an interesting compositional structure just beneath the surface of this pool of improvisers. The result is a sound that sits extremely close to my own sensibilities. This is the Dave Douglas music that courses through my veins. This time through I'm struck by how much Yuka Honda affects the overall sound on this project. In many ways, Sanctuary is the precursor to Douglas's later electronic efforts such as Witness, Freak In and Keystone and the sonic quality that most readily sets this early work apart is Honda's peculiar sound (as opposed to sounds contributed by Ikue Mori, Jamie Saft or DJ Olive on those later projects). And of all the individuals involved with this project it is Honda that I have yet to hear in isolation. The sampled groove patterns that coalesce within this sound create an interesting tension.

Clusone Trio: Clusone 3. 1991. Ramboy: 01.

Michael Moore: alto saxophone, clarinet, melodica
Ernst Reijseger: cello
Han Bennink: percussion

There are just some Sunday mornings that call for the finest Dutch jazz to compliment a pot of coffee with the morning paper. And there's something about Han Bennink's drumming on this one that keeps the feet moving in sympathetic parallel to his kick and high hat work. This music is steeped in the tradition and wickedly fun to listen to as the frenetic energy of this trio simmers beneath a sharp focus and boils over at key moments.

Anthony Braxton/Taylor Ho Bynum: Duets (Wesleyan) 2002. 2002. Innova: 576.

Anthony Braxton: sopranino saxophone, soprano saxophone, F alto saxophone, Eb alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, Eb contralto clarinet, Bb contralto clarinet
Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet, trumpbone, shell, mutes

More impressive than the fierce energy that erupts between Braxton and Bynum is the calm, unhurried conversational tone that these improvisers often take with one another. Braxton's "Composition 304" and "Composition "305" serve as bookends to a set where these players lend generous energy toward each other's compositions. Braxton's deep reserve of improvisational approaches finds a resonant ally in the student brass player as Taylor Ho Bynum's "Scabble," "To Wait" and "All Roads Lead to Middletown" seamlessly grows from the sonic worlds and vocabulary Braxton has developed.

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