Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Brothers of the 'sphere // Hive at it // Dewo exchange

gracias to those that answered my somewhat mopey plea for feedback. one productive thing that came outta that inquiry was that i learned of a very cool musician-run blog, which would be Harris Eisenstadt's Tie a Bow Not a Knot. Harris is a percussionist and composer who i've heard a ton about but haven't checked out too much. i hope to remedy that in the near future. in the meantime, i'm enjoying his blog/travelogue. he's been in Senegal studying African drumming and he's posted a bunch of videos of his teachers playing. some really, really sick shit on there that i couldn't even begin to understand but can easily dig.

in other blog news, i loved Steve Smith's recent post on the Cryptonights festival currently occurring at Jazz Standard. he does a great job of contextualizing the Crytpo label in terms of the West Coast jazz developments that gave rise to it. speaking of the Crypto thingie, i'm very much looking forward to hearing Nels Cline and band do Andrew Hill on Thurdsay.


listening to a very nice little miniature CD that i picked up from Joe Colley when i saw him play in Chi-town. this one is called "Hive" and as far as i can tell it is on a French label called Ferns (if you go to this Aquarius page and scroll down a bit, you should be able to order it).

so this one is a little gimmicky, i admit. check the package text: "Source sounds from beehive...," and then later on, he refers to "hive embedded contact microphones." and the artwork has honeycombs on it and all that. kinda cutesy. but the recording is so not gimmicky/cheap what have you. the bee sounds are there, sure, but they're so rich and attractive and droney but at the same time gross and scratchy and sort of wet or something. he really captures this sense of teeming aliveness/alien landscape. i'll post a little excerpt just so you can get an idea of what it's about.

Joe Colley - excerpt from "Hive," second untitled track

i'd definitely suggest picking up "Hive" b/c it's just a cool little document. i'm intensely impressed by all the Colley stuff i've heard, but for some reason, his littler documents (like this other 3" CD called "No Sound Has Ever Been Heard") have hit me harder than his big ones. need to really dig into the new full-length, "Waste of Songs," at some point and see what is what.


another thing that i think you should sample is Dewey Redman and Ed Blackwell's "Red and Black in Willisau," an absolutely killer live duo session recorded (i believe) in 1980. while listening to Blackwell on this, i thought of a way to express how i feel about his playing. his boxy, concise, demarcated swing and the way he sort of arranges these tight little one- or two-bar phrases makes it seem to me like he's always thinking in terms of trading fours. i.e., it often sounds like he's thinking of these little manageable rhythmic units, and they're just so damn satisfying and swinging. i know it might sound like i'm accusing him of squareness, but it's really just tightness of logic i'm speaking of.

Redman is just grooving. i don't know how else to put it. so swinging and joyous and patient. he's just having a great time in this setting you can tell. this session is absolutely mesmerizing b/c it just moves, leisurely but swift. it is very much a study in flow, bouncing, buoyancy, bopping. both players just seem generally up for creating some very fun and celebratory jazz, full of joyful movement. here's a choice excerpt from the long opening track...

Dewey Redman and Ed Blackwell - Willisee (excerpt)

around 2:45 you can hear a little of the trading-fours feel i was talking about. Redman totally picks up on that too, the idea of playing in these tight, resolved, digestible phrases. this is the kind of improv where you can sing the lines back right after you hear them--this is not ecstatic jazz, but rather the kind where you really hear a kind of instant, simultaneous composition happening between the two players. gracias mucho to my friend Herr Schaumann for tipping me off to this record, years ago no less... come to think of it, i also probably wouldn't have heard Joe Colley were it not for him.

1 comment:

Prof. Drew LeDrew said...

Re Blackwell, I recall thinking that this was a really strong post.
Rock on, Hank.