Saturday, May 28, 2011



May 22, 2011
Banned Rehearsal 217 - Banned Rehearsal
Slow Blues X 2 - Keith Eisenbrey

An experiment - taking the recordings of both the solo and trio versions from the Jack Straw sessions and mixing them together. The result, as often with such experiments, is more interesting than successful. The respective piano parts proceed at somewhat different tempos, effectively unhinging the metrical and harmonic force of the written-down portion of the piece, moving it closer to the time-sense world inhabited by the improvised portion of the piece. The downside is that it is precisely the potent contrast of time-sense worlds that makes the trio version click.

Gradus 74 - Neal Meyer
Banned Rehearsal 772 - Banned Rehearsal

May 24, 2011
Meddlin' With The Blues - The Two of Spades

I was reminded of the giddily chaotic calliope music of the Bickleton Carousel in its hoary old age. 

Wailing Blues - The Cellar Boys
Body and Soul - Benny Goodman
Ko-Ko - Duke Ellington

I love the pianist's percussive anacrusis. (What is the plural of anacrusis? anacrusi? anacruses? anacrusises?) The dynamic range is pretty compressed on this recording (the one on the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz) - it must have really been spectacular live.

Get Happy - Harry Sweets Edison
Nice Work If You Can Get It - Sarah Vaughan/Miles Davis
That's All Right (live) - Elvis Presley

May 26, 2011
A Tall Cool One - The Wailers

The cuts generally improve through the course of the album. The piano on the first cut is kind of wimpy sounding, as though it were played on a spinet, or recorded poorly, or both. Isabella goes on my party mix any day. 


May 21, 2011

The  "StormSound" Cycle - S. Eric Scribner
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle
with S. Eric Scribner, Mike Sentkewitz, Ivan Arteaga, Neal Kosaly-Meyer, Matt Kocmieroski, Dale Speicher, Jay Hamilton, Keith Eisenbrey, Bruce Greeley, Ryan Burt, David Paul Mesler, and Clifford Dunn

First of all, my sincere congratulations to Steve on the successful accomplishment of this mammoth task. Putting together nine plus hours of music with twelve performers and running it as efficiently as he did is not easy. My hat is off to you. Well done!

Nine hours is long for a piece of music, but the scale is in keeping with a spacious spirit. Processes spin out hugely in their own sweet time. If they proceeded any faster they would be radically different processes. For me the experience was very like that of committing to and taking a long and occasionally strenuous auditory day hike. One can only move so fast and it takes as long as it takes. No shortcuts. Although I found it physically challenging to sit and listen the whole time it was entirely comfortable to stand up and quietly move about the space if I needed to. Karen brought me a nice hot dinner (thank you!!) and we ate in the narthex/lobby while listening. There were several of us that stayed the whole time, and quite a few who attended for several hours. In the end I found the "ordeal" aspect of it to be much less of a problem than I had feared.

The day hike analogy works for me pretty well in all sorts of ways. The procession of musical imagery is like that of scenery going by rather than like, for instance, a detective novel. There is a preponderance of natural-sourced sound in the prerecorded material  - bird song, wind, fire, crickets, that sort of thing. Several times the birds in the actual out of doors seemed to be conversing with the birds of like species in the virtual out of doors. The sound made by the live performers might be the conversations we have along the path. Sounds returned over the course of the cycle variously transformed, as though the same geographical feature were seen from different vantages. Most of all it allowed me to hear the sounds as a part of what was happening in my world, rather than as a story or problem every detail of which demanded my attention.

The cycle consists of 21 sound files played into the room in sequence. Performers were assigned tasks of a generally musical nature to accomplish at certain times. The upshot of this is that the social interaction, and hence the musical interaction, between the players is essentially that of parallel play rather than ensemble play, i.e. we play at the same time, but aren't really playing together. There is little or no designed in detailed intent interaction between the people on stage. As a performer this is strangely not freeing, having more the effect of being set adrift or left in the lurch - neither having been given something specific, detailed, and socially engaging to do, nor being given carte blanche to completely be oneself in the situation - not enough score or far too much.

But all in all this was a splendid effort and I'm glad I took the time to experience the whole thing. It is a considered, imaginative, and brave project. There is much in this music to ponder, quibble though I might with aspects of its methodology.

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