Sunday, November 16, 2008

HurdAudio Rotation: Ramboy in the Elephant Sanctuary

Dave Douglas: Sanctuary. 1997. Avant/Disk Union: AVAN 066.

Dave Douglas: trumpet
Cuong Vu: trumpet
Yuka Honda: sampler
Anthony Coleman: sampler
Hilliard Greene: bass
Mark Dresser: bass
Chris Speed: saxophone
Dougie Bowne: drums

This one is a much revered recording in the rotation and in the land of HurdAudio. The nod toward Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz comes across in a downtown take on the almost double ensemble. Part of the joy of listening to Sanctuary comes in the moment-to-moment unfolding of this improvised texture as it ranges freely between pulse and open rhythmic ripples. More joy still comes from puzzling which of the two trumpets, which of the two samplers and which of the two bassists are making the individual layers of this sound. The familiarity I have with these players adds a dimension to that part of the listening. One of Dave Douglas' more "avant" projects and one of his best.

Clusone Trio: Trio Clusone. 1991. Ramboy: 01.

Michael Moore: alto saxophone, clarinet, melodica
Ernst Reijseger: cello
Han Bennink: percussion

Given the kinetic force that is Han Bennink combined with the tight-yet-free skittering through a wide spectrum of jazz and creative music styles that marks the Clusone Trio's sound I'm still struck by the pockets of unhurried calm that form within the tapestry of music found on this recording. The trio that could veer off into any direction is equally adept at delivering a solid cover of Hermeto Pascoal's "Bebe" or stretching out long sheets of freely improvised tranquility. But it's the expectation of wild flights that keep the ears reaching for this disc. And it hardly disappoints on that front. It's the tension of that potential energy lurking in the sound - with explosive bursts into kinetic - that makes for a standout listening experience with this one.

Jack DeJohnette - featuring Bill Frisell: The Elephant Sleeps But Still Remembers. 2006. Golden Beams Productions: GBP-CD-1116.

Jack DeJohnette: drums, percussion, vocal, piano
Bill Frisell: guitar, banjo

Bill Frisell gets to play with all the best drummers. In a list that includes the likes of Joey Baron, Ginger Baker, Kenny Wollesen, Elvin Jones and numerous others, adding Jack DeJohnette to that list is a natural. Recorded live in Seattle at the Earshot Jazz Festival in 2001 and touched up with some light post production work from Ben Surman, this one continues Frisell's track record of outstanding recordings. The range of textures (DeJohnette is a fine pianist - as evidenced by a sensitive rendition of John Coltrane's "After the Rain") and musicianship is staggering. Individually these players inspire awe. As co-conspirators they've turned in a great record for the ages.

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