Sunday, September 22, 2013
Live Music Wednesday, Thursday & Friday + S.O.S. Lives!
Ms. Slipp and Mr. Manski perform this Wednesday (9/25) at Pizzeria Lauretano, 291 Greenwood Avenue in Bethel, a venue beginning to be known for its adventurous programming. The venue's website does not list a time for the show so I would call 203-792-1500 for more information. To check out their upcoming schedule, go to www.pizzerialauretano.com.
here to read it. For ticket information, go to jorgensen.uconn.edu/events/.
Larry Ochs and Don Robinson will play 2 sets - 8:30 and 10 p.m. - and you should expect the music will be going in many directions, as befits a pair of great improvisers. For more information, go to firehouse12.com and www.ochs.cc.
O, and what a joyous noise this trio could produce. Surman was enamored with his synthesizers and enjoyed blending his trance-like figures (a la Terry Riley) with the sounds of the saxophones. The first CD opens with "News", fading in on a synth loop that Surman plays his electronically-altered soprano over (it's a technique he continues to use). Here, there is a "wah-wah" attachment which links it to the experiments of Miles Davis. That is followed by the trio taking on "Rashied", composed by drummer Rashied Ali. One hears the influence of AACM musicians such as Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman and others. Drummer Tony Levin joins the trio for 2 tracks from the 1975 studio session. "Q.E. Hall" opens with the drummer playing against a synthesizer loop before Surman adds electric piano behind the boisterous tenor sax solo. The music sounds a bit like early Weather Report, especially beneath Osborne's fiery alto solo. Martial drumming leads in Surman's arrangement of the traditional "The Mountain Road", a Highland jig with the alto trading lies with the twin sopranos of Surman and Skidmore.
The "Live" CD opens with the introduction of the musicians to great applause The audience falls into rhythmic clapping as the synthesizer loop lead-in to "Suite" hushes the crowd. Light percussion accompanies the loops, then electric piano appears in the background and, little by little, the saxophonists enter as the loop drops out. Surman's bass clarinet plays a supporting role as the alto and tenor play the rhythmical melody. The piece changes course numerous times over its 25+ minutes, with the trio swapping lead and supporting roles. Later on, Surman switches to electric piano, Skidmore to drums (quite a solid player) and Osborne creates a roller-coaser of an alto solo. Surman's piano solo utilizes a number of sound-shifting devices before Osborne returns for a soprano sax solo. "Up There", with its bass clarinet rhythm pattern and its genial interactions, may remind some of the World Saxophone Quartet in its early days (interesting, the W.S.Q. did not come into existence until 1977.) With the exception of the classically-inspired "Legends" (composed by Surman) which clocks in at 2:13 (38 seconds of which is applause), the live CD contains 3 fairly long pieces and nary a dull moment.
While John Surman and Alan Skidmore are still quite active, Mike Osborne retired from professional music in 1982 due to issues with mental illness and passed from lung cancer in 2007. Though the three musicians played and recorded together in larger ensembles, up until the release of "Looking For the Next One", the only recording by S.O.S. was their 1975 self-titled Lp on OGUN Records (it's been reissued on CD but is hard to find.) It's great to hear this music, this creative wall-of-sound created in the halcyon days of experimentation, and thanks to Cuneiform Records, available to all to behold. For more information, go to www.cuneiformrecords.com/bandshtml/sos.html.