Sunday, April 10, 2011

HurdAudio Rotation: J.H., J.T. & J.S.B.

Joe Henderson: Mode for Joe. 1966 (1988 re-issue). Blue Note Records: CDP 7-84227-2.

Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone
Lee Morgan: trumpet
Curtis Fuller: trombone
Bobby Hutcherson: vibraphone
Cedar Walton: piano
Ron Carter: bass
Joe Chambers: drums

This time through Mode for Joe I'm waking up to the fact that Bobby Hutcherson is an incredible player and a key part of this outstanding sound. His sense of rhythmic time and dynamicism makes his presence into something extraordinary. Easily holding his own within an ensemble of heavy hitting hard boppers. And coming well to the foreground with the Latin number "Caribbean Fire Dance." Beyond being blinded by the vibes there is the undeniable excellence of Joe Henderson's compositions and arrangements. Not to mention his solos. What kind of world would this be if Henderson wrote more original tunes? Cedar Walton and Lee Morgan also contributed original numbers to this set list as this septet throws several hard punches in a short span of time. In a Blue Note catalogue filled with perfect gems this one ranks as one of the greatest jazz recordings of all time.

James Tenney: Postal Pieces. 2004. New World Records: 80612-2.

Tatiana Koleva: percussion

Swell Piece
The Barton Workshop
Jos Zwaanenburg: flutes
Alex Geller: cello
Nina Hitz: cello
Judith van Swaaij: cello
Marieke Keser: violin
Jacob Plooij: violin
Elisabeth Smalt: viola
John Anderson: clarinets
Gertjan Loot: trumpet
Krijn van Arnhem: bassoon, contrabassoon
Frank Denyer: melodica
Charles van Tassel: baritone
Theo van Arnhem: contrabass
Jos Tieman: contrabass
James Fulkerson: conductor

A Rose Is a Is a Round
The Barton Workshop

Jos Tieman: contrabass

Swell Piece #2
The Barton Workshop

Having Never Written a Note for Percussion
Tobias Liebezeit: percussion

Elisabeth Smalt: viola

For Percussion Perhaps, Or... (night)
James Fulkerson: trombone, live electronics

Swell Piece #3
The Barton Workshop

Nina Hitz: cello

August Harp
Ulrike von Meier: harp

Studies of radical simplicity. Drawing upon the audible immediacy of conceptual form. A singular shape drawn out on a postcard becomes an ensemble of swelling sounds. A reminder that sound materials are like lumps of clay waiting to be sculpted into shapes. And that simple shapes draw out unexpected detail and acoustic phenomena. The rich, focused attention toward the beating found between two slightly detuned strings of the contrabass in "Beast," animating an inner being within that instrument. The mechanics of "August Harp" plucking through its sequences like a mobile suspended from a ceiling as it reflects and deflects the sunlight across the room. The whimsical snapshot of a round sung in "A Rose is A Rose is A Round." Or the invitation to slowly immerse the ears into a sheen of enharmonics and noise in "Having Never Written A Note for Percussion." Each performance brings the ear and mind closer toward understanding the limitless potential within even the most deliberately restricted of ideas.

Johann Sebastian Bach: Bach Edition [disc I-3]. 1994. Brilliant Classics: 93102/3.

La Stravaganza Koln
Andrew Manze: musical direction

Ouverture (Orchestral Suite) No. 1 in C Major, BWV 1066 for 2 oboes, bassoon, strings and continuo
Sinfonia from Cantata BWV 29 "Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir"
Ouverture (Orchestral Suite) No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067 for flute, strings and continuo

The music of J.S. Bach represents the loftiest of human achievements. A body of music that shaped, and continues to shape, an entire tradition of music in its wake. His material is so timeless that the ideas animating his music still resonates even through the most amateurish of performances or any number of arrangements. But when experiencing an outstanding performance by La Stravaganza Koln playing on period instruments this music positively soars. These ears were ready to pack up and head to Europe just to experience this kind of beauty up close. There is something unmistakeable about the construction of Bach's music. These are meticulously worked out while still retaining the sense of joy and reverie of the material. There is a reason why this music retains such strong gravity.

No comments: