Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Barre Phillips, Three Day Moon (ECM 1123, 1978)

An all time favorite with some of Terje Rypdal's best guitar work. I vaguely remember reading an interview with Barre Phillips where he said this recording didn't come out the way he expected. Terje Rypdal had just been loaned one of Roland's new guitar synthesizers, and he was keen to play it on every track, so it came out a bit more electronic and spacey that Phillips might have intended. The last track "S C & W" (I'm guessing "Space, Country & Western") has got to be one of the most amazing tracks ever. Barre does a convincing job fiddling his bass as if he were playing bluegrass, while Trilok Gurtu is keeping the beat using Indian Tala rhytmic patterns and Rypdal and Feichtner are, well, out in electronic space. I was surprised at the dearth of reviews, this is from Craig LeHoullier at "I suppose that the recordings of Barre Phillips will never be widely available or popular. They are odd, challenging, and sometimes quite scary. The sounds that he evokes from his bass are remarkable. He is truly an artist - not just a musician, but a painter of images."
Barre Phillips - bass
Terje Rypdal - guitar, guitar synthesizer, organ
Dieter Feichtner - synthesizer
Trilok Gurtu - tabla, percussion

Long out of print, this is from the briefly available Japanese CD edition which is now impossible to find and currently selling for silly money.

Broun Fellinis, Real Moments (Moonshine Records, 1995)

Back in the day, I use to actually get out of the house and listen to live music. The Broun Fellinis were one of my favorites, and I'd catch their gigs at the Elbo Room in San Francisco's Mission District (usually on Thursdays), which at the time was walking distance for me. I took a friend from Seattle there, and he couldn't get over all the "young hip people" grooving and dancing to Jazz. I bought this disc at a gig, it's apparently their debut release. Steve Huey at writes "The Broun Fellinis are a jazz/hip-hop trio hailing from the Bay Area whose members include percussionist Professor Boris Karnaz (born Kevin Carnes), bassist Kirk the Redeemer, and woodwind player Black Edgar Kenyatta. The group has created their own mythology explaining their origins -- they claim to be from the mythical land of Boohaabia, which floats off the coast of Madagascar and is surrounded by the Phat Temple, the Ministry of Imagination, and the Oasis of Surprise, which are all at equal distances from Boohaabia. Further, Karnaz claims that Boohaabia may be reached through the group's music, or perhaps through Kirk the Redeemer's bass cabinet if the pilgrim has brought him some cashews; Karnaz promises that the listener's chair will then sink six inches into the sand and giraffes will appear, ready to take the listener wherever he may want to go. "

Monday, April 5, 2010

Henry Threadgill Sextet, Subject to Change (About Time 1984)

Brian Olewnick at writes: "The third album released by Threadgill's seven-member Sextett (!) on the fine About Time label, Subject to Change continued to display the leader's extraordinary compositional gifts in a series of pieces ranging from the episodic to the melancholy to the purely grooving. His bands always had a deep and infectious capacity for strutting and this quality is amply in evidence on pieces like "Homeostasis," as the group swaggers with all the aplomb of a classic New Orleans marching band. "Higher Places" stands firmly in the canon of brooding, quasi-dirges that have always been a special strength of Threadgill, a gorgeous, steamy theme redolent of hot southern evenings. The title track is a burner, featuring striking work from cellist Diedre Murray and evolving into a series of bluesy variations worthy of Mingus. Amina Claudine Myers is added on vocals for the last number, prefiguring Threadgill's increasing interest in singers in upcoming years, notably Cassandra Wilson, who provided the lyrics for this piece. Subject to Change is very much of a piece with other Sextett albums of the '80s: meaty, imaginative, solidly and even inspiringly played, and rich in evocations of past musics while looking straight into the future. Collect 'em all. "