Sunday, November 09, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Keyed In, Played and Shined

Joanne Brackeen: Keyed In. 1979. CBS/Tappan Zee Records/Columbia Records: 36075 (LP).

Joanne Brackeen: piano
Eddie Gomez: bass
Jack DeJohnette: drums

Joanne Brackeen is one of the reasons why I've moved to add vinyl to my listening rotation. This session is as tight as one would expect given the talent involved with this piano trio. Brackeen makes use of cleanly articulated, rapid lines that color her compositions without veering off into flashy technique.

Relache: Press Play. 2006. Meyer Media: MM06004.

Bob Butryn: clarinets, saxophones
Andrea Clearfield: piano, keyboards
Ruth Frazier: viola
Jon Gaarder: bassoons
Christopher Hanning: percussion
Michele Kelly: flutes
Douglas Mapp: contrabass, electric bass
Lloyd Shorter: oboe, english horn

High Octane - composed by Mark Hagerty

Still Life With Canon
- composed by Guy Klucevsek

When the Spirit Catches You... - composed by Cynthia Folio

Other than skillful arranging for this odd ensemble, these three composers represent three completely different directions for new music in the early years of the twenty-first century. Mark Hagerty's High Octane is a shimmering take on interlocking patterns with a post-minimalist (post-classical, perhaps) spin. Guy Klucevsek contributes odd metered dance mixed with introspective reflection on dance and tragedy. His arrangement chops cannot be over stated. Cynthia Folio's When the Spirit Catches You... is a particularly odd and vulnerable work written about her daughter's struggle with epilepsy. The sense of disorientation conveyed in the music "caught" me off guard. After a second and third listen I was struck by how well written and tangibly imbued with compassion this piece is.

Dave Douglas/Keystone: Moonshine. 2007. Greenleaf: GRE-06.

Dave Douglas: trumpet
Marcus Strickland: saxophone
Adam Benjamin: fender rhodes
Brad Jones: ampeg baby bass
Gene Lake: drums
DJ Olive: turntables, laptop

An excellent CD. Though it's hard to imagine putting that lineup of players together and realizing anything less. This "electric" (and often post-processed) side of Dave Douglas continues to bear funky, delicious noise. The hard, edgy core of "Kitten" helps balance out some of the sweet stuff from "Dog Star" and "Married Life" while "Moonshine" and "Tough" put a satisfying groove underneath the sonic picture. The temptation to call this Douglas' On the Corner is ever present, but not quite right. The inspiration drawn from Fatty Arbuckle gives this music a completely different focus. Though I have to admit, as much as I love the sounds coming out of Keystone, the visual juxtaposition with the Arbuckle films feels off target to me. Like this is a music that requires no visuals or concrete reference points.

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