May 4, 2014

Playlist Week of 2014-05-03

And Other Desert Towns

* Reger: Clarinet Quintet, Op.146 (Leister/Drolc Quartett) (DG LP)
* Stravinsky: Ebony Concerto, etc. (Ens. InterContemporain/Boulez) (DG LP)
* Miles Davis: Quintet, 1965-‘68 (d.3) (Columbia/Legacy 6CD)
* Grant Green: The Complete Quartets With Sonny Clark (Blue Note 2CD)
* Gary Burton/Chick Corea/Pat Metheny/Roy Haynes/Dave Holland: Like Minds (Concord CD)
* Jack DeJohnette’s Special Edition: Album Album (ECM LP)
* John Patton: Accent On The Blues (Blue Note CD)
* Lenny Breau: Five O’Clock Bells (Adelphi LP)
* Steve Khan: Casa Loco (Antilles LP)
* Mike Stern: Jigsaw (Atlantic LP)
* Ingrid Laubrock & Tom Rainey: And Other Desert Towns (Relative Pitch CD)
* Grateful Dead: Dave’s Picks Vol.10: Thelma, Los Angeles, CA 12/12/69 (GDP/Rhino 3HDCD)
* Grateful Dead: Dave’s Picks 2014 Bonus Disc: Thelma 12/11/69x (GDP/Rhino HDCD)
* Grateful Dead: Five Seasons Center, Cedar Rapids, IA 1984-07-04 (selections) (SBD 3CDR)
* Pearls Before Swine: Balaklava (ESP-Disk’ LP)
* The Free Design: Kites Are Fun (Light In The Attic LP)
* Van Morrison: No Guru, No Method, No Teacher (Polydor CD)
* King Crimson: In The Court Of The Crimson King (Inner Knot CD/DVD)
* King Crimson: In The Wake Of Poseidon (Inner Knot CD/DVD)
* King Crimson: Lizard (Inner Knot CD/DVD)
* King Crimson: Islands (Inner Knot CD/DVD)
* The Moody Blues: In Search Of The Lost Chord (Deram LP)
* Focus: Moving Waves (Sire LP)
* Jan Akkerman: Jan Akkerman (Atlantic LP)
* Black Sabbath: Live Evil (Warner Bros. 2LP)
* Medusa: Trapeze (Threshold LP)
* Gary Higgins: Red Hash (Drag City LP)
* Rod Stewart: Every Picture Tells A Story (Mercury/Mobile Fidelity CD)
* McKendree Spring: Spring Suite (MCA LP)
* Premiata Forneria Marconi: Photos Of Ghosts (Manticore LP)
* Van Der Graaf Generator: The Aerosol Grey Machine (Mercury LP)
* Emerson Lake & Palmer: Emerson Lake & Palmer (Razor & Tie 2CD+DVD)
* Emerson Lake & Palmer: Tarkus (Razor & Tie 2CD+DVD)
* Alan Parsons Project: I Robot (Arista LP)
* Supertramp: Breakfast In America (A&M/Mobile Fidelity CD)
* Mudcrutch: Mudcrutch (Reprise 2LP)
* The Flaming Lips: The Soft Bulletin (Warner Bros. HDCD)
* Guided By Voices: Cool Planet (GBV, Inc. LP)
* Circus Devils: When Machines Attack (Happy Jack Rock Records LP)
* Circus Devils: My Mind Has Seen The White Trick (Happy Jack Rock Records LP)
* Seefeel: Polyfusia (Astralwerks CD)
* Seefeel: Quique (Astralwerks CD)
* Seefeel: Starethrough Ep (Warp CDEP)
* Megadeth: Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? (Capitol LP)
* Opeth: Blackwater Park (Music For Nations/Sony 2LP)
* Opeth: Deliverance (Music For Nations/Music On Vinyl 2LP)
* Opeth: Damnation (Music For Nations/Music On Vinyl LP)
* Mastodon: Leviathan (Relapse LP)
* Children Of The Mushroom: Hard Times Hangin At The End Of The World (Kemado LP)



When I think of saxophone/drums duets in modern jazz, the first album that immediately springs to mind is John Coltrane’s posthumous masterpiece, Interstellar Space  (Impulse!, 1974), with Rashied Ali’s supple polyrhythmic percussion foregrounding the formal logic and spiritual anguish of Coltrane’s late-period expression. Then there are also numerous albums led by Anthony Braxton, who brings his cerebral compositional approach to freely improvised duets with drummers like Max Roach and Gerry Hemingway. Both approaches, however, tend towards maximum intensity, be it Coltrane’s high-energy “sheets of sound” or Braxton’s tense, dissonant and rhythmically complex vocabularies. And both approaches tend to reduce the drummer to a supporting role, with an occasional solo segment providing a break for the saxophonists.

And Other Desert Towns, the new CD on Relative Pitch from Ingrid Laubrock and Tom Rainey, is a refreshing take on the saxophone/drums duet and a worthy successor to those classic records—and a genuine partnership of equals. Laubrock is certainly capable of the sort of fire-breathing intensity found in late Coltrane but it is tempered with a Braxtonian compositional approach to free improvisation and a mastery of extended techniques. Rainey, of course, is one of the most complete drummers around, playing both inside and outside the pulse with equal sensitivity. Laubrock and Rainey have not only played together in numerous ensembles over the years (Sleepthief, Anti-House, Tom Rainey Trio, etc.), they are also married. Not surprisingly, the interplay of the saxophone and percussion on And Other Desert Towns is downright telepathic—and immediately apparent upon first listen.

Eschewing epic outpourings, the ten tracks on the CD are relatively brief, developing and unfolding over the course of the set like contemporary chamber music while still remaining rooted in the language and posture of modern jazz.  Starting off quietly, the album gradually builds momentum, the abstract soundscapes evolving into subtly swinging ballad forms, out-cat skronking and rock-inflected workouts. No matter how densely packed the music gets, there is always plenty of space, room for the musicians to breathe—and they can turn on a dime. Laubrock’s range of saxophone tones is truly astounding: from breathy lyricism to growling aggression, from limpid beauty to strangled gurgles and piercing squeals. Meanwhile, Rainey coaxes an orchestra’s worth of sound from his drum kit and leads the way as much as he follows. But, most importantly, all this impressive technical brilliance is deployed in the service of a singular expression. The music flows together so seamlessly that it often sounds more through-composed than freely improvised—and yet this music could only be born in the moment of its making. And Other Desert Towns is free improvisation of the highest order and sure to become a modern jazz classic.


Ingrid Laubrock and Tom Rainey are currently on a rare tour of the U.S. and will be here in Nashville on Thursday, May 22 for an all-day celebration of their music. The duo will host a masterclass/workshop in afternoon at the downtown NashvillePublic Library and perform at “Indeterminacies” at Zeitgeist Gallery at 7:00pm in the evening. Vanderbilt University professor Robert Fry will present an “Out of the Lunchbox” talk preceding the workshop and will also be leading the discussion segment at “Indeterminacies.” This is going to be amazing! All events are FREE and open to public—so don’t miss it. (Seating is limited for the library events. Please contact Liz Coleman for reservations: (615) 862-5804 ext.6092.)

1 comment:

Sam said...

Damn, I wish I could be there! That's gonna be one helluva day!

Here are my lists from last week:

Playlist 2014-05-05:

*League of Automatic Music Composers: Automatic Music Cassettes 78-81 “Ear Benefit Rehearsal- Martian Folk Music”
*League of Automatic Music Composers: Automatic Music Cassettes 78-81 “Ear Benefit Rehearsal- Pedal with Twitter”
*League of Automatic Music Composers: Automatic Music Cassettes 78-81 “Home- Dense Drone- Side A”
*AMM: Laminal (disc 1)
*AMM: At the Roundhouse
*Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet & 7-tette: Navigation (The Complete Firehouse 12 Recordings) (disc 2)
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: Cosmologies (reference lacquer, 24-bit/96kHz transfer) (side A)
*Miles Davis: The Complete On the Corner Sessions (discs 1, 2)
*Miles Davis: 1972-09-14 Boston (CDR)
*Miles Davis: In Concert: Live at Philharmonic Hall (disc 1)
*Elton Dean/Joe Gallivan/Kenny Wheeler: The Cheque Is in the Mail (side 1)
*Dave Holland: Prism
*Naked Truth: Ouroborus
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2014-04-07 “Once Again, a Title” (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2014-03-15 Pyramid Atlantic, Silver Spring MD (wav)
*Return to Forever: Where Have I Known You Before (side 2)
*Sun Ra & His Astro-Infinity Arkestra: Other Strange Worlds
*Sun Ra: Sun Ra Solo Works (online compilation)
*Allman Brothers: At Fillmore East (side 3)
*Syd Barrett: The Madcap Laughs
*Beatles: Hard Day's Night (2009 mono remaster)
*William Bell: A Little Something Extra
*Boredoms: Pop Tatari
*Boredoms: Super AE
*Circulatory System: Circulatory System
*De La Soul: De La Soul Is Dead
*Deerhoof: Breakup Song
*Dr. Dog: B-Room
*Mike Elder/Harry Forrest/Greg Jordan/Sam Byrd: 2014-03-07 (wav)
*Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival
*Jefferson Pilot: Hello Mississippi
*Killswitch Engage: As Daylight Dies
*MC5: Back in the USA
*Muffins: Manna/Mirage (side 1)
*National Lampoon: That’s Not Funny, That’s Sick (side 1)
*Nine Inch Nails: And All That Could Have Been
*OOIOO: Taiga
*Rolling Stones: Undercover of the Night
*Lewis Taylor: The Lost Album
*UYA: 1991-05-02 Middle East Cambridge MA
*Various artists: WSAM: Drive (cassette compilation)
*Edgar Winter: Entrance (side 1)
*Robert Wyatt; The End of an Ear

Reading List 2014-05-05:

*Reynolds, Simon. Retromania (started)
*Stebbins, Jon. The Beach Boys FAQ (started)
*Swift, Jonathan. The Tale of a Tub (started/finished)
*Willingham, Bill, et al. Fables: War and Pieces (started/finished)
*Willingham, Bill, et al. Fables: The Great Fables Crossover (started/finished)
*Weldon, Michael J. Psychotronic Video Guide (finished)