Wednesday, November 19, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Feel Each Day

Anthony Braxton/Taylor Ho Bynum: Duets (Wesleyan) 2002. 2002. Innova: 576.

Anthony Braxton: sopranino saxophone, soprano saxophone, F alto saxophone, Eb alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, Eb clarinet, Bb clarinet, contalto clarinet
Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet, trumpbone, shell, mutes

This is a performance and improvisation between teacher and student. Each leaves an impression through conversation and creative spark that makes this disc well worth hearing. Anthony Braxton has taken his mentoring role at Wesleyan as an opportunity to collaborate - and learn - from creative forces such as Taylor Ho Bynum. Bynum's own compositions carve out clear trajectories from the trunk of Braxton's considerable body of work and ideas to find new spaces that bear his mark. The shift between cornet and trumpbone keeping pace with Braxton's dizzying multi-instrumental acrobatics and extended technique. Braxton's compositions provide plenty of evidence of the depth of his accomplishments and pool of ideas. Between the two lies the improvisation - the conversation - that holds these ears in rapt attentiveness.

Dave Douglas: Charms of the Night Sky. 1998. Winter & Winter: 910 015-2.

Dave Douglas: trumpet
Guy Klucevsek: accordion
Mark Feldman: violin
Greg Cohen: bass

Every move - and this CD has accompanied me through some large swaths of geographic shifts - involves an increasing number of boxes of CDs to shuffle from old home to new home. This is one of discs I pause involuntarily over when packing or unpacking. A heart filled with regard for the music contained on its silvery sheen. The weaving of trumpet, accordion, violin and bass with equal nods toward jazz tradition and Eastern European music performed with a mastery that is never flashy in the service of unfolding these excellent compositions. Dave Douglas' tone takes on a sheen that is unlike the sound he employs with his numerous other ensembles. The dedications he attaches to many of these pieces are clear nods toward heroes acknowledged. "Dance in They Soul" - dedicated to Charlie Haden - makes perfect sense as tribute in both the substance of the music and the subject of the sound.

Elliott Sharp/Terraplane: Blues for Next. 2000. Knitting Factory Records: KFW-285.

Terraplane core quartet:
Elliott Sharp: electric guitars, console steel guitar, National steel guitar, tenor saxophone
Sim Cain: drums, electronic percussion
Sam Furnace: alto saxophone, baritone saxophone
David Hofstra: electric bass, acoustic bass

Dean Bowman: vocals
Eric Mingus: vocals
Hubert Sumlin: electric guitar

Elliott Sharp has a relationship with noise. He brings it on the guitar. He brings it on the saxophone. He brings it in his thorny compositions. With Terraplane, he also puts his relationship with the blues to the front and center. And while the "noise thing" gets turned on with many of his signature textures, licks and blasts from his timbre toolbox he actually brings a relatively light touch to this genre. It doesn't sound like he's holding back. He's simply allowing the dynamic - particularly the group dynamic - to drive this music forward with more than a measure of respect for the history running through the blues. The guest tracks take wonderful turns and offer bits of poetic observance. While the "quartet" disc of this double set drives straight for the groove with plenty of space for noise and solo.

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