Sunday, July 24, 2011

HurdAudio Rotation: Shards of Surmountability

Susie Ibarra: Flower After Flower. 2000. Tzadik: TZ 7057.

Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet, brushes
Chris Speed: clarinet
Assif Tsahar: bass clarinet
Charles Burnham: violin
Cooper-Moore: flute, piano
Pauline Oliveros: accordion
John Lindberg: bass
Susie Ibarra: drums, kulintang, percussion

Music of transparent sophistication and primitivism. Susie Ibarra provides a compositional form that invites deep listening based improvisation from an outstanding ensemble. Sequentially, these eight pieces alternate between solo "Fractal" performances and larger scale compositions for various instrumental configurations. "The Ancients" covers a surprising range of territory with Ibarra's solo material on temple bells as its unifying motif. "Fractal 3," performed by Cooper-Moore as a solo piano piece is outstanding. The decision to fade out the ending of "Human Beginnings" is the only point of disappointment on this disc. There had to be a better way out of that piece. But overall it is the skilled listening that lurks behind each of these performers that shines through Flower After Flower.

Marc Ribot: Shoe String Symphonettes. 1997. Tzadik: TZ 7504.

Death by Unnatural Causes (1991) directed by Karen Bellone and LinkLisa Rinzler
Greg Cohen: bass
Jill Jaffe: violin, viola
Marc Ribot: guitar, sampler

Landlord Blues (1987) directed by Jacob Burkhardt
Marc Ribot: trumpet, banjo, guitar
Brad Jones: bass
Bill Ware: vibes
Curtis Fowlkes: trombone
Jim Nolet: violin
Roy Nathanson: saxophone
EJ Rodriguez: drums, percussion
Gregory Ribot: flute

Alita Queen of Mars (1928) directed by Yakov Protazanov
Paul Clarvis: drums, percussion
Dave Meric: keyboards
Phil Boyden: violin
Marc Ribot: guitar
Helen Thomas: cello
Mike Kearsey: trombone

Pieces From An Incomplete Project (1995-1996) directed by Joe Brewster
Dave Douglas: trumpet
Vicki Bodner: oboe
Charlie Giordano: piano, keyboards
Mauro Refosco: percussion
Jill Jaffe: violin, viola
Maxine Neuman: cello
Tony Garnier: bass

Summer Salt (1993) directed by Charlie Levi
John Zorn: saxophone
Andy Haas: saxophone
Cyro Baptista: drums
Marc Ribot: guitar, e-flat horn

Film scores tend to be a mixed bag. Without the linear visuals present we are left with a music that is formally subverted by unseen forces. Rather than building or transitioning by the internal, compositional logic, we have music that darts around and frequently leaves many ideas undeveloped and incomplete. Shoe String Symphonettes ranges wildly from atmospheric material to idiomatically grounded music ranging from surf guitar rock to blues to Latin and swing. While nearly everything on this disc is entirely too short, it is overwhelmingly pleasant. With sounding combinations that stick with the ears and invite further listening.

Paul Plimley Trio: Safe-Crackers. 1999. Victo: cd066.

Paul Plimley: piano
Lisle Ellis: contrabass
Scott Amendola: drums

I would put this recording up against any piano trio set in the history of jazz. The humor and taut transparency of this music is astonishing given the sheer density of these pieces and the deep roots that touch upon a full range of music history. This set gives so much to the listener upon each encounter with this disc. The richness of detail keeps the music fresh no matter how familiar the ears become with it. The effortless dialog that passes through these players is remarkable. The chemistry they bring is incredible. Easily one of my top ten discs.

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