Thursday, October 17, 2019

Derek Bailey, Han Bennink, Evan Parker, Topographie Parisienne, Dunois, April 3d, 1981

Dunois. April 3rd, 1981. Whatever the weather, if darker or lighter the sky, not much matters in that wise save it made it possible for Derek Bailey, guitar, Han Bennink, drums, and Evan Parker, sax, to get together and play some extensive improvisations together live and that Jean-Marc Foussat was on hand to record it. We happily have the four-CD set now to appreciate this gig, entitled Topographie Parisienne (Fou FR CD 34-35-36-37).

Bailey and Parker had already made a huge impression on the world via their involvement with selves and others, as members of the Music Improvisation Company, the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and in various other configurations. Han Bennink was a critical member of the Dutch Improv scene, the ICP Orchestra and etc. The three together was an auspicious and lovely thing as these four CDs beautifully attest.

We get two LP length cuts of the entire trio plus an LPs worth of Bailey-Parker duets, a half hour of Bailey and Bennink together and another of Bennink and Parker. Then as a sort of bonus we also have solo Parker for two ten-minute stints.

By the time these sides were waxed the world of Improv was fully a thing unto itself and recognized as such. Parisienne audiences no doubt knew what they were hearing or most might well have. The simpatico vibes were apparent as all three turn in some of their very best work, in all configurations.

This is seminal improv. Do not miss it if you are a fan! If not, give it a try anyway! Here are four reasons why each is considered a master stylist in Improv. They are on their game in the very best ways! Bravo!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Go: Organic Orchestra and Brooklyn Raga Massive, Ragmala, A Garland of Ragas

Where else might you hear a combination of Indian Classical influence, Prog-Fusion Quasi-Psychedelica, Gnawa, Prog-Funk post-Miles and a myriad of other things deftly put together as one. Certainly the concatenation of Adam Rudoph's Go: Organic Orchestra and the Brooklyn Raga Massive and their two-CD, three-LP Ragmala - A Garland of Ragas (Meta Records Meta/BRM 023) is a place where all such things happen together exceedingly well.

The album combines some 40 musicians including Gnawa's legendary Hassaan Hakmoun, Chicago's own Hamid Drake on drums/percussion, celebrated cornetist Graham Haynes, flautist Kaoru Watanabe along with the Go and Brooklyn ensembles.

Fused advance and Indian classical are the primary drivers one might say--for the roots of the two orchestras lie there, yet too this is not some "ordinary" fusion, for everyone brings specifics, never generics.

The two CDs have such a variable palette of goodies that I scarce know where to start, other than to say that rhythm is prominent and the drumming-percussion is irresistible. Yet then so are the parts that map out the written routines and their juxtapose with very viable improvisational points in time.

It is an album whose ambition is justified in excellent adventure, results that make you come back repeatedly to grow into the music world-fully well, at least in my case. It is invigorating grafting-hybridization that promises and delivers in ways we do not often get such measure of in the Progressive music-Avant sphere.

This is not music to rest on laurels. It expands in the best sense of what Fusion was meant to be in its inceptive years.

Hurrah for this one. Get it!