Sunday, July 06, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Commingling Creative Forces

Ludwig van Beethoven: The Complete Quartets, volume VII. Recorded in 1986/1985. Delos: DE 3037.

The Orford String Quartet:
Andrew Dawes: violin
Kenneth Perkins: violin
Terence Helmer: viola
Denis Brott: cello

String Quartet in C Minor, Op 18, No. 4
String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132

Juxtaposing the early Beethoven against the late Beethoven like this is like a game of Hadyn seek. The Opus 18 offering a masterful take on the late Classical aesthetic as learned and absorbed from Beethoven's teacher Joseph Hadyn. The Opus 132 then offers a five-movement lesson in the early Romantic aesthetic of searching for expressive results from Beethoven's mature sensibilities as he allows his ideas and variations plenty of room to stretch out. Not only a glimpse of the Romantic Era just being ushered in by the great master, but in the long "Molto Adagio" movement one can catch an aural glimpse of the musical textures that would form in Beethoven's wake.

Albert Ayler: Holy Ghost (box set) [disc 6]. 2004. Revenant Records: RVN 213.

Albert Ayler Quintet - June 30/July 1, 1967 @ Freebody Park, Newport, Rhode Island
Albert Ayler: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, vocals
Don Ayler: trumpet
Michel Samson: violin
Bill Folwell: bass
Milford Graves: drums

Albert Ayler Quartet - July 21, 1967 @ John Coltrane's funeral, St. Peter's Lutheran Church, New York City
Albert Ayler: tenor saxophone, vocals
Don Ayler: trumpet
Richard Davis: bass
Milford Graves: drums

Pharoah Sanders Ensemble - January 21, 1968 @ Renaissance Ballroom, New York City
Pharoah Sanders: tenor saxophone
Chris Capers: trumpet
unknown: alto saxophone
Alber Ayler: tenor saxophone
unknown: tenor saxophone
Dave Burrell: piano
Sirone: bass
Roger Blank: drums

Albert Ayler studio sessions - late August, 1968, New York City
Albert Ayler: tenor saxophone, vocals, solo recitation
Call Cobbs: piano, rocksichord
Bill Folwell: electric bass
Bernard Purdie: drums
Mary Parks: vocals, tambourine
Vivian Bostic: vocals

Disc 6 from the Holy Ghost collection is a juxtaposition of odds and ends from Ayler's all too brief career. The quintet from the summer of 1967 in Freebody Park is burning with every vitality that makes Ayler's music and performances so intoxicating. The layer of Michel Samson on violin is particularly engaging and the production values for this incredible set is a gift to Ayler fans. The cavernous sounds of the quartet performance at John Coltrane's funeral does little to obscure the genuine sense of love and loss expressed for the sad, solemn occasion. The Pharoah Sanders material is a pleasant odyssey through many familiar Sander's compositions captured in a rough recording of a live performance. Then there are the demo takes from the Mary Parks collaborations from Ayler's New Grass era. The exuberant honesty that marks all of Ayler's music is no less in these blues and rock forays, it's just hard to love them as much as his fire breathing avant jazz material.

Cristian Amigo: Kingdom of Jones. 2007. Innova: 671.

Cristian Amigo: acoustic guitars, electric guitars, lap steel, prepared tiple, pianos, synthesizers, beats, loops, processes, programming, soda cans and miscellaneous percussion, soundscapes, voice, lyrics
Guillermo Cardenas: percussion
Alain Berge: drums
Randy Woolf: turntable
Guy Kaye: synthesizer, filters
Wojciech Kosma: samples
Philip Blackburn: samples
Jeff Schwartz: bass
David Martinelli: drums
Andy Connell: clarinet
Robert Reigle: alto saxophone
Jonathan Grasse: electric guitar
Manoocher Sadeghi: santur
Nikos Brisco: guitar, Tibetan prayer bowl
Michael John Garces: lyrics

Like Beethoven and Ayler, Amigo is another composer displaying contrasting impulses on a single disc. This time it's by design. In the 21st century it's less of a sin to pull from eclectic influences and arrive at multiple destinations. Amigo even goes so far as to advocate listening to this disc as three discreet parts as opposed to a single sitting. Having just taken this music in via the discouraged "single sitting" method I hear these three parts as an arc of commingling forces. The middle "war" material provides a much appreciated release when contrasted against the taut, beautiful playing of the first and third sections.

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