Friday, July 04, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Real Frisell, Real McCoy, Real Li Po

Bill Frisell: Floratone. 2007. Blue Note Records: 0946 3 93879 2 2.

Bill Frisell: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, loops, vocals
Matt Chamberlain: drums, percussion, loops
Tucker Martine: recording, post-processing, production
Lee Townsend: recording, post-processing, production
Viktor Krauss: acoustic bass, electric bass
Ron Miles: cornet
Eyvind Kang: viola

There hasn't been a Lee Townsend produced Bill Frisell recording that hasn't glazed these ears over with a fine mist of pure joy. And this one is even better than most. With Matt Chamberlain and Bill Frisell improvising some initial tracks/layers as raw materials for Tucker Martine and Lee Townsend to play with (working with Frisell improvisations is a bit like cooking with obscenely fresh ingredients) along with additional material recorded once the initial layers were assembled, Floratone brings a sophisticated re-mix/studio mentality without obscuring the sublime flavors or spontenaity of the initial source material. This is an unmistakable Frisell sound, complete with all the twists and turns this master guitarist is known for, presented with a slightly altered perspective. The result may be one of his best recordings yet.

McCoy Tyner: The Real McCoy. 1967 (Rudy Van Gelder edition from 1999). Blue Note Records: 7243 4 97807 2 9.

McCoy Tyner: piano
Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone
Ron Carter: bass
Elvin Jones: drums

One of the classic piano quartet recordings of all time. Each of the five Tyner compositions has its own hook that sinks deep into the ear drums with the most infectious syncopation and melodic turns imaginable. Even the ballad, "Search for Peace" has that great bass part at the onset as Ron Carter bends the notes, leaving a deep impression on the soul in the process. Then there is the playing. McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson, Ron Carter, Elvin Jones... if each of these figures doesn't individually tug at your jazz loving heart then you haven't been paying attention.

Harry Partch: 17 Lyrics of Li Po. 1995. Tzadik: TZ 7012.

Stephen Kalm: intoning voice
Ted Mook: tenor violin

With an attentive ear tuned to the harmonies of spoken voice and its natural rhythms, Harry Partch found a troubadour voice that allows the poetry to emerge unscathed by musical treatment. These pieces form a substantial touchstone in the HurdAudio psyche as spinning this eerily perfect performances (Stephen Kalm practically channels an exact vocal match of Partch's own intoning sound) adds more layers of appreciation to these early works.

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