Annie Gosfield: Flying Sparks and Heavy Machinery. 2001. Tzadik: TZ 7069.
Annie Gosfield: sampling keyboard
Roger Kleier: electric guitar
Ikue Mori: electronics
Jim Pugliese: drums, percussion
Sim Cain: drums, percussion
Hans-Gunter Brodmann: metal factory percussion
Matthias Rosenbauer: metal factory percussion
Flying Sparks and Heavy Machinery (2000)
Tom Chiu: violin
Cornelius Dufallo: violin
Kenji Bunch: viola
Darrett: Adkins: cello
Talujon Percussion Quartet
Michael Lipsey: percussion
Dominic Donato: percussion
Tom Kolor: percussion
Jim Pugliese: percussion
Annie Gosfield has a stylistic sensibility that cannot be described without sounding like less than the stunning results she achieves through her music. As a composer who collects samples to build a big part of her sonic pallet (performing many of these samples herself as part of the ensemble) she is hardly treading into revolutionary territory. Yet the musicality of her pieces is astonishing and way ahead of so many who have worked with similar materials. Her craft is the kind of music that these ears have craved. Realizing the potential rarely found by so many armed with samplers and an idea for integrating real world sounds into music. Her pieces are music first, never outstripped by their concept, execution and intention.
Both of the pieces on this disc focus on the sonic matter of factory sounds. Steering clear of the theme of "dehumanization" of factory work and machinery, it instead brings a wide open ear to the beauty inherent in the sonic materials of industrial scale mechanics. Sounds that reveal a deeper humanity within sonic materials revealed by percussionists and recordists alike. EWA 7 builds upon a shifting symbiotic relationship between sampled materials and live players with an all-encompassing sense of groove and texture. All of which makes excellent use of the materials and the players at hand in its realization. Flying Sparks and Heavy Machinery then takes this same textural and inspirational content and applies it to composed music. Peeling away a layer of abstraction just below the sampled textures found in EWA 7. Taken together, these two pieces form two halves a singular sonic vision and a startling sense of what is possible when wide open ears and blistering intelligence are brought to bear upon the tools of sampling technology and compositional prowess. Highly recommended.
Fantastic Merlins: Look Around. 2007. Innova: 670.
Nathan Hanson: tenor saxophone, electronics
Jacqueline Ferrier-Ultan: cello, electronics
Brian Roessler: bass
Federico Ughi: drums
The music of the Fantastic Merlins is informed by many influences and sources. My ears can hear the gentle tug of fellow Minnesota resident George Cartwright's angular compositions and early Curlew sounds. Much of this is reinforced by the cello and saxophone arrangements. But there are also passing references to a full body of jazz history and grounded feeling for a world of musics. The slower tempo tracks finding expressive force through long phrases that exhale through harmonic terrain. Faster tempos touching briefly upon ostinato patterns and groove before dissolving into a sophisticated sense of texture. One can even hear the bitter cold winters of Minneapolis and the undercurrents found in the music of The Bad Plus. Not every shifting passage leaves a lasting impression, but it does leave an itch to hear Look Around again.
Marty Ehrlich: The Long View. 2002. Enja: 9452-2.
Marty Ehrlich: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, bass clarinet
Sam Furnace: alto saxophone, flute
Ned Rothenberg: alto saxophone, bass clarinet
Robert Debellis: tenor saxophone, clarinet
JD Parran: tenor saxophone, contrabass clarinet
Andy Laster: baritone saxophone, clarinet
Eddie Allen: trumpet
James Zollar: trumpet
John Clark: french horn
Clark Gayton: trombone
Marcus Rojas: tuba
Mark Dresser: bass
Michael Sarin: drums
Mark Helias: conductor, bass
Mark Feldman: violin
Ralph Farris: viola
Erik Friedlander: cello
Eddie Bobe: bongos, cowbell
Bobby Previte: drums, bass drum, tambourine
Wayne Horvitz: piano
Ray Anderson: trombone
Pheeroan AkLaff: drums
This disc was a "must have" just on the strength of the personnel included in these sessions. The fact that this is a multi-movement work for shifting ensembles composed by Marty Ehrlich and realized by this all-star ensemble makes this one a long-running favorite in the rotation. The fourth movement in particular is pure bliss with its Wayne Horvitz introduction leading into a brilliant quartet performance from Ehrlich, Horvitz, Dresser and Previte. The rockin' Marcus Rojas tuba introduction for the fifth movement is another highlight. As is the Eddie Allen trumpet solo in the first and the soprano saxophone plus strings, drums and percussion second movement. It's a "must hear." Long form jazz compositions rarely get such aggressively solid realizations as this and the musical material gives these players plenty to dig into.