Wednesday, April 16, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Some Andrew Hill and A Couple of Plus One Ensembles

Wayne Horvitz/4+1 Ensemble: From A Window. 2001. Disk Union/Avan: 080.

Wayne Horvitz: piano, prepared piano, hammond B-3, pump organ, synthesizers, toy piano
Eyvind Kang: violin, viola
Tucker Martine: live electronic processing, drum machine
Julian Priester: trombone
Reggie Watts: keyboards, vocals, live drum machine, piano
special guest -
Skerik: baritone saxophone

Understated. Brittle melodies, grooves that bubble to the surface with deceptive simplicity and hook-like qualities that linger on after the final track has played. This is a good example of the Wayne Horvitz arrangement technique and sound that runs within my own veins. Lurking just beneath the surface of these quiet, reserved pieces is some impressive improvisational talent. Julian Priester's trombone work in particular is a steady creative force within this ensemble.

Andrew Hill: A Beautiful Day. 2002. Palmetto Records: PM 2085.

Andrew Hill: piano
Scott Colley: bass
Nasheet Waits: drums
Aaron Stewart: tenor saxophone
John Savage: alto saxophone, flute
Marty Ehrlich: alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute
Greg Tardy: tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
J.D. Parron: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet
Ron Horton: trumpet
Dave Ballou: trumpet
Laurie Frinck: trumpet
Bruce Staalens: trumpet
Charlie Gordon: trombone
Joe Fiedler: trombone
Mike Fahn: trombone
Jose D'Avila: tuba

A Beautiful Day. Beauty is one word for it. Sounds that vary in thickness and intensity, yet always in the service of musical ideas that allow plenty of room for the individual improvising talents to come through. A Beautiful Day is actually taken from three beautiful nights at New York's Birdland late in Andrew Hill's recording and composing career. The ensemble is world class and this recording documents just how fluid Hill's musical ideas have been over a span of decades. A Beautiful Day. Beautiful arrangements. Beautiful sound.

Anthony Braxton 12+1tet: 9 Compositions (Iridium) 2006 - disc 5. Firehouse 12 Records: FH12-04-03-001.

Recorded live: March 18, 2006 at Iridium Jazz Club, New York City.

The Anthony Braxton 12+1tet
Anthony Braxton: composer, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, sopranino saxophone, clarinet and Eb contalto clarinet
Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet, flugelhorn, trumpbone, piccolo trumpet, bass trumpet, shell
Andrew Raffo Dewar: soprano saxophone, c-melody saxophone, clarinet
James Fei: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
Mary Halvorson: electric guitar
Stephen H. Lehman: alto saxophone, sopranino saxophone
Nicole Mitchell: flute, alto flute, bass flute, piccolo, voice
Jessica Pavone: viola, violin
Reut Regev: trombone, flugelbone
Jay Rozen: tuba, euphonium
Sara Schoenbeck: bassoon, suona
Aaron Siegel: percussion, vibraphone
Carl Testa: acoustic bass, bass clarinet

Disc 5 = Composition 354 - dedicated to the composer Charles Wuorinen

Other than beginning and ending within a span of approximately an hour, these ghost trance pieces seem to suspend time - or at least warp the passage of minutes into a smear of pulse and carefully interwoven group improvisation. At a cross roads of jazz history, avant garde traditions from both sides of the Atlantic and ritualistic traditions that speaks to both transcendence and the human condition Anthony Braxton explores an elastic territory that redefines what large ensemble improvisation can be. The guitar textures of Mary Halvorson that rise to the surface of this sound are a startling and welcome thread within this sonic fabric. One of many bright shades found upon this substantial canvas.

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