Sunday, March 23, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Moments and Monuments

Don Byron: Do the Boomerang: The Music of Junior Walker. 2006. Blue Note Records: 0946 3 41094 2 0.

Don Byron: tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
David Gilmore: guitar
George Colligan: hammond B-3 organ
Brad Jones: bass
Rodney Holmes: drums, tambourine
Curtis Fowlkes: trombone
Chris Thomas King: vocals, guitar
Dean Bowman: vocals

There are days when the music one puts on simply hits the target squarely and delivers a much needed jolt to the weary ears, mind and heart. Do The Boomerang is exactly that disc for today. The band is outstanding while the ever versatile Don Byron focuses upon and channels the incredible vibe of Junior Walker. Things have been running full tilt at HurdAudio and the sensibilities pouring out of this wonderful Blue Note is exactly the tonic for too many busy days. The ears even embrace the vocals of King and Bowman without any reluctance. The funky, blues-infected words carve the air and simply feel just right.

Available Jelly: Monuments. 1993. Ramboy: 07.

Eric Boeren: trumpet, alto horn
Jimmy Sernesky: trumpet
Michael Moore: alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
Tobias Delius: tenor saxophone
Gregg Moore: trombone, tuba, mandolin, electric bass
Alexei Levin: piano, accordion, organ
Eric Calmes: bass, bass guitar
Michael Vatcher: percussion

This one was long overdue for a repeat spin in the rotation. Reedsman Michael Moore (not to be confused with the film maker of the same name) has a knack for putting together ensembles, projects, compositions and arrangements that draw upon a balance of creative impulse and historical references that is completely irresistible to these ears. The elastic energy of Monuments that pivots between swinging themes, traditional anthems from Madagascar and collective improvisation makes this as enduring as any "monument." The accordion lines from Alexei Levin and percussive work of Michael Vatcher are a particular draw on this go around.

Wally Shoup/Toshi Makihara/Brent Arnold: Confluxus. 2004. Leo Records: 399.

Wally Shoup: alto saxophone
Toshi Makihara: drums
Brent Arnold: cello

Knowing each of these players individually from different contexts (and different coasts) allowed me to view this disc with a sensation of "wow, these guys would be great collaborators." Each instrumentalist in this trio is completely tuned into the moment of creation and this documentation of their overlapping paths still glows with the heat of their interactive fabric. The independent roles of saxophone, drums and cello are subsumed into a singular wash of sound as the form and substance of this music molds timbre into a singularity. These three players are great collaborators and Confluxus delivers both to the expectation and the curiosity with the moments shaped over time on this outing.

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