Tuesday, February 01, 2011

HurdAudio Rotation: Soundtrack for a Blizzard

Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath: Bremen to Bridgwater. 1971, 1975 (re-issued in 2004). Cuneiform Records: Rune 182/183.

Chris McGregor: piano
Keith Bailey: drums
Harry Beckett: trumpet
Marc Charig: trumpet
Elton Dean: alto saxophone
Nick Evans: trombone
Mongezi Feza: trumpet
Bruce Grant: baritone saxophone
Malcolm Griffiths: trombone
Radu Malfatti: trombone
Harry Miller: double bass
Louis Moholo-Moholo: drums
Mike Osborne: alto saxophone, clarinet
Evan Parker: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Dudu Pukwana: alto saxophone
Alan Skidmore: tenor saxophone
Gary Windo: tenor saxophone

The field tape recordings of these performances may a little rough, but the musical material soars. Dual meanings of "freedom" in an ensemble of improvisers willfully practicing the kind of mixed collaboration that forced the South African members of this ensemble to live in exile. A sonic document for ears that hear that shimmers with a tragic radiance. Combined with a sorrow that this period of creative explosiveness wasn't documented more thoroughly. But also a celebration that Apartheid policy was (and always will be) too frail to extinguish the resonance of true humanity.

Forbes Graham: Another Return. 2006. Polyrhythmatics: 3/25 limited edition CD-R.

Forbes Graham: trumpet, laptop computer

Recorded in Providence, Rhode Island and Marlboro, Vermont during the winter, these quiet electronic textures now fill the air as a dramatic blizzard rages beyond my window. It is a sound of interior space insulated against the elements. Particularly in "You're Here With Us Now" as it vanishes into abrupt silence just as it treads toward distortion. Then returns at its own unhurried pace. The timbral space of trumpet appears only as an amplification of the instrument's subtle interiors. It is a sound that unfolds with its own logic without becoming untethered from the human qualities of breath and introspection.

Jason Adasiewicz: Sun Rooms. 2010. Delmark: DE 593.

Jason Adasiewicz: vibraphone
Nate McBride: bass
Mike Reed: drums

Jason Adasiewicz brings a refreshing physicality to the vibraphone. Performing live with multiple groups within the vibrant Chicago scene, the sweat and deliberation he brings to his performances reveals the range of previously untapped potential lurking within the instrument when one is willing to explore the extremes of its harmonic and rhythmic dimensions. And Adasiewicz is willing to strike the metal bars pretty hard. There is also a softer side to his playing as well as a strikingly rhythmic approach to bowing the instrument. At his heart, he is a drummer and the precision and variation in rhythm is unwavering. The deft and fluid approach toward harmony makes Sun Rooms a solid trio outing that can hold its own compared to any piano trio. The music on this disc extends indefinitely in two directions. Drawing upon a deep sense of jazz history while still propelling toward an aggressively new improvised music. It's hard to imagine a rhythm section more suited toward this journey than the always excellent Nate McBride and Mike Reed. Sun Rooms blows the "cool, detached" vibe off of the vibraphone and pulls forcefully at the ears to hear its timbral range in a new light.

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