Sunday, June 07, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Expansive Forces

Don Cherry: Tibet. 1981. Piccadilly (LP): PIC 3515.

Don Cherry: piano, percussion
Christer Bothen: piano
Bernt Rosengren: taragot
Agneta Ernstrom: Tibetan bell, percussion
Bengt Berger: piano, mridangam

A great record and evidence that Don Cherry did not confine his creativity to the boundaries of genre or style. His improvisations were not confined by political borders or provincialism either. "World music" that retains an edge lurking beneath soft textures. The cyclical patterns of "Bass Figure for Ballatune" applied to a piano opens up a repetitive texture in the middle of a listening experience that can honestly be described as mind expanding. Not to mention gently persuasive.

Thomas Helton: Experimentations In Minimalism. 2006. FreeBass Productions: CD-R.

Thomas Helton: doublebass
Karl Fulbright: tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
Seth Paynter: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Martin Langford: tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
Josh Levy: tenor saxophone, bass saxophone
Carol Morgan: trumpet
Brad Clymer: trumpet
Brian Allen: trombone
Thomas Hulten: trombone

Like Tibet, this is an expansive exploration of the softer side of creative improvisation. With Experimentations In Minimalism the focus narrows along abstract musical lines. An ostinato line or walking bass carving a path through a few of these compositions. While the "Pious" sets explore ideas within a single instrument type. The three "Experimentations In Minimalism" draw upon the Terry Riley-esque figures in the wind instruments as a textural point of reference. These compositions leave plenty of open space that this impressive set of performers never saturates. Almost hovering within the spaces carved out by these compositional ideas.

Susie Ibarra: Flower After Flower. 2000. Tzadik: TZ 7057

Susie Ibarra: drums, kulintang, percussion
Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet, brushes
Chris Speed: clarinet
Assif Tsahar: bass clarinet
Charles Burnham: violin
Cooper-Moore: flute, piano
Pauline Oliveros: accordion
John Lindberg: bass

It's strange how listening to Don Cherry can cast a new light on everything you hear in its wake. Susie Ibarra takes a heady mix of composition and stellar improvisers for a blend of deep listening and "downtown" sensibilities. Wadada Leo Smith's sound takes on new color after hearing Cherry on the same instrument. The lineage and evolution of ideas travels favorably between these two forces. The presence of Pauline Oliveros on accordion as unaccompanied soloist on "Fractal 2" as well as ensemble member on "Human Beginnings" adds an important shading to this listening experience. An excellent set of compositions that compliment Ibarra's always impressive abilities as a drummer.

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