Monday, November 02, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Exiles and Lizards

Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath: Travelling Somewhere. 1973 (re-issued in 2001). Cuneiform: Rune 152.

Chris McGregor: piano
Harry Beckett: trumpet
Mark Charig: trumpet
Nick Evans: trombone
Mongezi Feza: trumpet
Malcolm Griffiths: trombone
Harry Miller: double bass
Louis Moholo: drums
Mike Osborne: alto saxophone
Evan Parker: tenor saxophone
Dudu Pukwana: alto saxophone
Gary Windo: tenor saxophone

The Brotherhood of Breath is so under-documented that every scrapbook of joyful sound is incredibly valuable. Improvisation of the highest order built upon layers of human experience, cultural reference points and exile. The unusual challenges endured by this mix of South African and European musicians pouring out with a vibration of fervent humanity. Here lie multiple avenues for large ensemble writing yet to be fully explored.

The Lounge Lizards: Queen of All Ears. 1998. Strange & Beautiful Music: SB 0015.

John Lurie: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, vocals
Michael Blake: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Steven Bernstein: trumpet
David Tronzo: slide guitar
Evan Lurie: piano, organ
Jane Scarpantoni: cello
Erik Sanko: bass
Ben Perowsky: percussion
Calvin Weston: drums

It's good to be reminded just how much I dig this ensemble. The layering of patterns in "The First and Royal Queen" always brings a smile at the onset of this disc and the journey continues from there. Rich with musical ideas and moments of whimsy. Particularly the mad screaming set up by the story telling in "Yak." Plenty of impressive talent in this large band.

Sun Ra: The Creator of the Universe. 1971 performances (released in 2009). Transparency: 0301.

The Lost Reel Collection:
disc 1: Warehouse, San Francisco, June 10, 1971
Sun Ra with Arkestra
disc 2: 3rd Class, UC Berkeley, May 4, 1971
Sun Ra lecture

Billed as "a Sun Ra album like no other," this release of recovered reel to reel recordings from Sun Ra's time in the Bay Area does pry open the persona of Le Sony'r Ra to reveal the street preacher of his Chicago days expounding upon his concepts of racial inequality against his cosmic orientation. Disc one offering a long declamation over arkestral accompaniment while the course lecture on the second disc (from his year in residence at UC Berkeley) is accompanied by the sound of nervous laughter and chalk on blackboard. The wordplay and ability to turn concepts upside down paired with his oddly charismatic voice of prophecy. The sense of a body of music born out of relentless questioning and a willingness to dismiss accepted conventions in all matters. A documentation of thought more so than music. Beautiful, frustrating, engaging and troubling all at the same time.

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