Saturday, February 16, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: The Suspicious Activity of Dancing

Nels Cline: New Monastery: A View Into the Music of Andrew Hill. 2006. Cryptogramophone: CG130.

Nels Cline: guitar, effects
Bobby Bradford: cornet
Ben Goldberg: clarinets
Andrea Parkins: accordion, effects
Devin Hoff: contrabass
Scott Amendola: drums, percussion
Alex Cline: percussion

Given the creative beauty found within the music of Andrew Hill there's a pleasant sensibility of "a view" that suggests just how many views into this body of music might be found as sympathetic improvisers gaze into, through and come away inspired. All through New Monastery there is the palpable sense of homage paid toward Hill out of love. This is something tangibly different from duty. The strings of Nels Cline's guitar seemingly stretching backwards and forward through time with the presence of Bobby Bradford providing substantive roots to the history of free jazz. The opening duet between Cline and Ben Goldberg setting the introspective stage that nearly explodes as the full ensemble emerges for a view into "Pumpkin." This is heady, soul-satisfying music.

The Bad Plus: Suspicious Activity? 2005. Columbia Records: 94740.

Reid Anderson: bass
Ethan Iverson: piano
David King: drums

The Bad Plus work a mean addition as this trio effort offers up a polished, dynamic sound that draw the ears toward the individual roles of these Minnesota composer/musicians. This is a piano trio that carves out some clear contours with original compositions (plus one cover) that build and often soar with a fearless approach toward pulse and harmony. Suspicious Activity? keeps the mind awake with its sly turns and bubbling individuality. The drumming is outstanding and would be a focal point all its own if not for the remarkable cohesion of this group as a whole.

Ornette Coleman: Dancing In Your Head. 1973, 1975. (Re-released in 2000). Verve Music Group: 314 543 519-2.

Ornette Coleman: alto saxophone
Robert Palmer: clarinet
Charles Ellerbee: guitar
Bern Nix: guitar
Jamaaladeen Tacuma: bass
Ronald Shannon Jackson: drums
Master Musicians of Jajouka: ghaita, stringed instruments, percussion

"Dance" is the key word for this collection as the harmolodic groove gyrates into a transcontinental frenzy. This one has a split identity, with two long versions of "Theme From a Symphony" featuring a core set of players that would later figure prominently in Coleman's Prime Time group followed by two frustratingly brief versions of "Midnight Sunrise" with the Master Musicians of Jajouka. I understand that more of these recordings from Morocco do exist and the latter part of this record is a tantalizing glimpse at sound of this collaboration.

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