Sunday, November 18, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: Synthesis - Cross-cultural and Otherwise

Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath: Bremen to Bridgwater. 1971, 1975 - re-issued in 2004. Cuneiform Records: Rune 182/183.

June 20, 1971 set at Lila Eule, Bremen, Germany
Harry Beckett: trumpet
Marc Charig: trumpet
Nick Evans: trombone
Mongezi Feza: trumpet
Malcolm Griffiths: trombone
Chris McGregor: piano
Harry Miller: bass
Louis Moholo-Moholo: drums
Mike Osborne: alto saxophone, clarinet
Dudu Pukwana: alto saxophone
Alan Skidmore: tenor saxophone
Gary Windo: tenor saxophone

February 26, 1975 set at the Bridgwater Arts Centre, Bridgwater, England, U.K.
Keith Bailey: drums
Harry Beckett: trumpet
Marc Charig: trumpet
Elton Dean: alto saxophone
Nick Evans: trombone
Mongezi Feza: trumpet
Malcolm Griffiths: trombone
Chris McGregor: piano
Harry Miller: bass
Mike Osborne: also saxophone, clarinet
Dudu Pukwana: alto saxophone
Alan Skidmore: tenor saxophone

November 11, 1975 set at the Bridgwater Arts Centre, Bridgwater, England, U.K.
Harry Beckett: trumpet
Marc Charig: trumpet
Elton Dean: alto saxophone
Nick Evans: trombone
Mongezi Feza: trumpet
Bruce Grant: baritone saxophone
Radu Malfatti: trombone
Chris McGregor: piano
Harry Miller: bass
Louis Moholo-Moholo: drums
Mike Osborne: alto saxophone, clarinet
Evan Parker: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Dudu Pukwana: alto saxophone

The documentation of these 1971 and 1975 concerts is a joy to behold. The melodic twists and contours set against this rhythm section and big band sound - not to mention the spirited creative improvisations - is a testament to the musical sparks that fly with cross-cultural synthesis. That such an ensemble with this beautiful energy and sound could be banned from South Africa (the native home of many of these musicians then living in exile) for the "crime" of mixing races is unfathomable. The fact that apartheid was indefensible and stupid has never lacked for supporting argument. Music such as this illustrates the sheer deafness of such an idiotic policy.

Forbes Graham: Another Return. 2007. Self produced CD-R available from the composer.

Forbes Graham: trumpet, laptop computer

This one shrinks the ears and places them within an imagined microscopic soundscape tinged by the resonance of the trumpet's brass plumbing. "You're Here With Us Now" builds toward a threshold of pure distortion and drops into complete silence at the moment that threshold is punctured. The dotted silences add more tension than a mere overdriven signal could ever produce.

Jason Kao Hwang: Edge. 2006. Asian Improv Records: AIR0067.

Jason Kao Hwang: composer, violin
Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet, flugelhorn
Andrew Drury: drums
Ken Filiano: bass

The way this quartet plays together shades these compositions into something striking. Hwang composes music that mixes free jazz and Asian traditions and the outstanding performers in this group animate it into a sound of understated beauty aided by deep musicianship. The pitch inflections of Hwang's violin lines weave gently along side Taylor Ho Bynum's expressive brass tone. A deeper chemistry between performers is rarely achieved.

1 comment:

Semiquaver said...

alan skidmore.....one of the great British sax players. Can't wait for him to appear at our local club soon.