Sunday, July 13, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Songs of Liberty and Bohemians

Terry Riley & Michael McClure: I Like Your Eyes Liberty. 2004. Sri Moonshine: 002.

Terry Riley: music
Michael McClure: poetry

The colorful rantings and mix of verbal words and noises of Michael McClure's poetry reading strike the ears like a lunatic banging on the walls of the asylum. Terry Riley's improvised responsiveness to this poetry transforms the experience from insanity to a charming lunacy. Rich with so many of the qualities that make Terry Riley's music compelling, this one takes on the twin demons of words and collaboration with mixed results. The ears are both drawn in and put off at the same time. The poetry is good. The music is inviting. In the end it feels more like a curiosity than anything else.

Charlie Haden: The Ballad of the Fallen. 1982. ECM: 1248 811 546-2.

Charlie Haden: bass
Carla Bley: arrangements, piano, glockenspiel
Don Cherry: pocket trumpet
Sharon Freeman: french horn
Mick Goodrick: guitar
Jack Jeffers: tuba
Michael Mantler: trumpet
Paul Motion: drums, percussion
Jim Pepper: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute
Dewey Redman: tenor saxophone
Steve Slagle: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet, flute
Gary Valente: trombone

Carla Bley arrangements. An inspiring humanitarian message. Music of defiance and hope. These Liberation Music Orchestra recordings bring the ears to a deeper understanding of love and hope through a veil of tears. One of the great jazz recordings of all time. But what Haden/Bley collaboration isn't? The short arrangement of "The People United Will Never Be Defeated" is incredible and the contributions of each one of these players adds up to a rare level of inspired.

Art Blakey/The Jazz Messengers: The Jazz Messengers at the Cafe Bohemia Volume 1 & 2. 1955 (Rudy Van Gelder edition released in 2001). Blue Note Records: 7243 5 32148 2 1 & 7243 5 3249 2 0.

Art Blakey: drums
Kenny Dorham: trumpet
Hank Mobley: tenor saxophone
Horace Silver: piano
Doug Watkins: bass

Ideal for those who need a little bop with their Sunday morning coffee. For monophonic source tapes these disc sound amazing. From a era when covering show tunes was neither an ironic gesture or an obligation to the standards repertoire, these wonderful Kenny Dorham arrangements are drenched within the deep, soul-filled wells that show off the vibrancy and life these tunes had before they were embalmed by generations long since removed from the days when Cole Porter was a contemporary pop icon. It's still possible to play great performances of the standards, but the conservative practice of treating them as museum relics rarely attains the gritty panache achieved at Cafe Bohemia in 1955 by these cats. The irresistible gravity of the feeling these players bring makes Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers an enduring fascination with these ears. Then there's that phenomenal presence of Horace Silver at the keys turning in great solo after great solo on the same stage with the great Hank Mobley.

No comments: