Sunday, August 10, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Hunter, Hill and Mmmmmmmm

Charlie Hunter: Charlie Hunter. 2000. Blue Note Records: 7243 5 25450 2 5.

Charlie Hunter: 8-string guitar
Peter Apfelbaum: tenor saxophone
Josh Roseman: trombone
Leon Parker: drums, percussion
Stephen Chopek: percussion
Robert Perkins: percussion

An overdue spin of this completely Blue Note-worthy guitarist. For his self-titled release Hunter mixes and matches a percussion driven set of originals (and a Monk tune) as a showcase of his great tone, chops and sense of time. "Two for Bleu" is a standout track with the horn section of Apfelbaum and Roseman sitting in. Josh Roseman's trombone solo on that track is well worth coming back for on this one. A solid effort from a mesmerizing talent.

Andrew Hill: Point of Departure. 1964 (Rudy Van Gelder edition released in 1999). Blue Note Records: 7243 4 99007 2 1.

Andrew Hill: piano
Kenny Dorham: trumpet
Eric Dolphy: alto saxophone, flute, bass clarinet
Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone
Richard Davis: bass
Tony Williams: drums

If you've developed a proper love of jazz and the creative talents that have manifested through the music over the decades then the list of players found on Point of Departure should trigger a mix of awe that so much fierce creativity was concentrated in one place at one time along with a pang that such inspired talent continues to recede into the past. With this artifact - this recording - these speakers spill out with so much evidence of a place and time where lightning struck. And for Eric Dolphy, this Point of Departure nearly coincided with his own as he departed this dimension just three months after this recording.

From the first sounds of "Refuge" through a set of outstanding Hill compositions (especially "New Monastery" and "Dedication") the mixture of profound awe and near disbelief that nearly half a century has done little to dull the vitality or thorny challenge that this music presents. The ears are tempted to go back in time and live within the Blue Note back catalogue with material such as this.

Trio M - Myra Melford/Mark Dresser/Matt Wilson: Big Picture. 2007. Cryptogramophone: CG 134.

Myra Melford: piano
Mark Dresser: bass
Matt Wilson: drums

My appreciation of all projects involving Myra Melford on piano is well documented in this space by now. Trio M takes that "Melford effect" to the next level as this trio of equals takes the traditional piano trio instrumentation to a new evolutionary plateau. The simpatico of creative forces that fuses Melford's blend of blues and free jazz with the sonic world of Mark Dresser on bass and the endless percussive joys of Matt Wilson on drums is one of the greatest live ensembles I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing. With Big Picture we have the tangible documentation of this trio one craves after experiencing them first hand. The democratic contributions of compositions and grounded improvisations growing organically from the unique vocabulary developed by each of these individuals is a transcendent sound. And yet Big Picture yields just a glimpse of their outstanding potential as this trio has gelled even further since this recording date. Seek out and savor this disc. Seek out the live experience of this group and let the mind reel as it contemplates what the Big Picture could not contain.

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