Exploding Star Orchestra: We Are All From Somewhere Else. 2007. Thrill Jockey: 181.
Rob Mazurek: composer, director, cornet, computer
Nicole Mitchell: flutes, voice
Jeb Bishop: trombone
Corey Wilkes: flugelhorn
Josh Berman: cornet
Matt Bauder: bass clarinet, tenor saxophone
Jeff Parker: guitar
Jim Baker: piano, arp, pianette
Jason Adasiewicz: vibraphone
John McEntire: marimba, tubular bells
Matthew Lux: bass guitar
Jason Ajemian: acoustic bass
Mike Reed: drums, percussion, saw
John Herndon: drums
Bursting with thick grooves that hook the ears and draw soloists and group improvisations into its dense gravity like a black hole. "Sting Ray and the Beginning of Time" opens up this disc with a serious punch as it works through its suite of raw physicality and punch drunk sound. Many of the ideas and grooves shifting on a dime as a showcase for the almost danceable side of the Chicago jazz scene. Jason Adasiewicz's work on vibraphone is not to be missed on this one (and he's well worth seeking out for the live experience).
Eric Dolphy: Far Cry with Booker Little. 1960 (re-released in 1989). Original Jazz Classics/New Jazz Records: OJCCD-400-2(NJ-8270).
Eric Dolphy: alto saxophone, bass clarinet, flute
Booker Little: trumpet
Jaki Byard: piano
Ron Carter: bass
Roy Haynes: drums
If the thought of hearing Eric Dolphy's bass clarinet running unison lines with Booker Little's trumpet doesn't have your ears craving for this disc then you haven't been listening. A real classic from two innovators so sorely missed. A great performance of "Miss Ann" on here and the sequence of "Mrs. Parker of K.C. (Bird's Mother)" opening this set and "Serene" closing it offers a nice bookend of melodicism that ranges from bop to ballad.
Nels Cline: New Monastery: A View Into the Music of Andrew Hill. 2006. Cryptogramophone: CG 130.
Nels Cline: guitar, effects
Bobby Bradford: cornet
Ben Goldberg: clarinets
Andrea Parkins: accordion, effects
Devin Hoff: contrabass
Scott Amendola: drumset, percussion
Alex Cline (on two tracks): percussion
As per Nels Cline's liner notes, this is "not at 'tribute record' in the conventional sense." But then, to do anything in a "conventional sense" couldn't possibly pay tribute to the unconventional force that was Andrew Hill. Hearing these Hill compositions without Hill's instrument (the piano) adds its own shading. The processed accordion textures being the only keyboard present in this music of love and vitality. The personalities - often strong - of these individuals are never sublimated into an Andrew Hill voice. This a music of interpretive freedom and respect without solemnity. For all the character that spills over in the sound it notably never falls into the trap that snares so many "conventional tribute records" that are more about promoting the performers on record over the subject of tribute. Instead, these are great compositions presented with a renewed focus. Not unlike the enlarged detail from Andrew Hill's Point of Departure that serves as the cover art for this release.