Friday, July 16, 2004

the past few days of listening

Last night I listened to the John Hollenbeck cd, I,Claudia for the first time all the way through. i would say it is without question one of the most exciting releases of the year and it definately surpasses the first cd compositionally(although i would like to hear a little more Chris Speed blowing on this one). texturally, i believe the band has officially arrived.  Some of it is studio work, but some of the most impressive examples aren't(the transition section on the first tune with just clarinet and accordian dancing around the major 2nd).  Finally, what really killed me was the very end of the last song, moving around the Maj 7 chord in the most ambient way i could imagine, and for minutes on end.  In a high meditation and pity for the ancients and angels, i opened the top of my skull as much as possible so those up in Celestia could hear what i was so blessed with.  i think it worked, but i haven't heard back.
Secondly, I spent some time with Dave Douglas' Witness.  It really is an interesting record, but sadly, i wasn't quite up the task that night.  The sixth track is one of the most ambitious improvisation/through-composed pieces of heard, and Chris Speed plays some extremely intelligent and sensitive clarinet.  I dig the avant approach to the record but, like i said, i wasn't in the right place.
A good showcase for Peter Bernstein's playing is on his(i think mid 90's) cd, Heart's Content.  The listener is also treated to some great Brad Mehldau outside of his usual BradMold.


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