Sunday, May 30, 2010

HurdAudio Rotation: Knocking on the Door of the Cosmos

Marty Ehrlich & Myra Melford: Spark! 2007. Palmetto Records: PM 2129.

Marty Ehrlich: alto saxophone, clarinet
Myra Melford: piano

"For Leroy" is one of the more heartfelt tributes, sonic prayers and expression of joy expressed in the passing of Leroy Jenkins that I've heard. A musical offering from two musicians who had the experience of knowing and playing with the great improvising violinist. That same reverence comes around as Erhlich and Melford interpret "Images of Time," composed by the late Andrew Hill. It is this impressive outward expressiveness balanced against the inward dialogue between these musicians that makes Spark! such a rewarding listen. My familiarity and appreciation for Melford's compositions runs a notch deeper with these versions of "Night," "A Generation Comes and Another Goes" and the fantastic "I See A Horizon." The Marty Ehrlich compositions call for a similar appreciation and familiarity with his work. The soul of blues and gospel music surges within this music - sometimes only barely perceptible beneath its surface. And the ability to draw upon a small number of elements that build toward a larger resonance gives this disc a sound much larger than a duo recital. This is living, vibrant music paired down to these two forces and it is very good.

Killick: Smudgeriffic. 2007. Sul Ponticello: 021 - limited run CD-R (#9 of 33).

Killick: guitar

Killick embraces the practice of free improvisation with an all consuming abandon. Every component of sound that the electric guitar can produce is fair game in this single movement study of solitary exploration. Simply plugging the instrument into the amplifier becomes a subject for rhythmic exploration. And each idea becomes subject to interruption from the next idea. In many ways, the "smudges" of Smudgeriffic is the restless movement from one timbral space to the next. Much of which reinforces my enthusiasm for the sound worlds and sensibilities this artist brings to life.

Sun Ra and his Intergalactic Myth Science Solar Arkestra: Sleeping Beauty. 1979 (re-issued in 2005). Art Yard: CD 003 & LP 003.

Sun Ra: piano, electric piano, organ, vocals
Marshall Allen: alto saxophone, flute
John Gilmore: tenor saxophone, percussion, vocals
Eloe Omoe: bass clarinet, flute, percussion
Michael Ray: trumpet, vocals
Danny Thompson: baritone saxophone, flute, percussion
Luqman Ali: drums, vocals
Noel Scott: alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, percussion
Craig Harris: trombone
Tony Bethel: trombone
Vincent Chancey: french horn
James Jackson: bassoon, flute, percussion
Walter Miller: trumpet
June Tyson: vocals
Rhoda Blount: vocals
Richard Williams: electric bass
Stanley Morgan: congas
Harry Wilson: vibraphone
Curt Pulliam: trumpet
Kenny Williams: tenor saxophone, flute
Hutch Jones: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone
Taylor Richardson: electric guitar
Steve Clark: electric bass
Damon Choice: vibraphone, vocals
Eddie Thomas: drums
Reg McDonald: drums
Atakatune: percussion
Sylvester Baton: reeds

A surprisingly laid back and deep groove pathway through the cosmos. Thick with keyboards and an Arkestra of astonishing talent. The John Gilmore solos send chills down the spine with their explosive energy. The "space jazz" message feels disguised by the soulfulness of this session. But it is ever present in the chants that wind through this material. Proving that Sun Ra's interstellar vision didn't exist in a vacuum as it adapted to the twists and bends of genre while still running light years ahead of its time. Put this one on the turntable on a hot day with the windows open.

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