Thursday, May 21, 2015
At 80 minutes, "In For a Penny, In For a Pound" is much to digest and would not fit easily on one disk. That said, this suite is most certainly interconnected, with themes moving in and out of separate tracks. While there are solos throughout, the rhythm section does not just "comp" or simply keep "time" but are vitally important to the movement and direction of each piece. When you listen, pay attention to what Liberty Ellman, Christopher Hoffmann and Jose Davila are playing when the there are solos. Melodies and rhythms intermingle, all while the music continues to move forward. On the CD jacket, Henry Threadgill gives "my endearing thanks and respect" to both Sonny Rollins and Ornette Coleman, musicians, soloists, bandleaders and composers who paved the way for his vision and his music. Yet, we can be thankful that there is no one like Henry Threadgill. At 71, he's going strong (his work with Wadada Leo Smith and Jack DeJohnette on new recordings is wonderful), seeming to grow stronger with every recording and every ensemble. For more information, go to www.pirecordings.com/artist/henry_threadgill.
Life Span"), has grown in ways one might not have expected. Her solo piano recordings reveal an artist always searching for new ways to express herself, the Trio dates find her and rhythm section avoiding cliches, and her work with Ingrid Laubrock and Tyshawn Sorey in Paradoxical Frog is indescribably audacious. Her arrangements for Tony Malaby's 2011 recording "Novela" (where she worked with 4 reeds, 3 brass, drums and piano, set the stage for her new project "Infrasound" an octet that features 4 clarinetists (Ben Goldberg, Oscar Noriega, Joachim Badenhorst, and Andrew Bishop), guitarist Nate Radley, organist Gary Versace, drummer Jim Black, and her piano. There is a video on Ms. Davis' website that tells the story behind the group and recording (watch it here) - the octet had not worked together as a unit until the night before its first gig and went into the recording studio the day after the gig!
"Save Your Breath" has moments of great beauty and harsh noises ("The Ghost of Your Previous Fuckup" offers much of the latter without ignoring the former), often moving with great force and determination. Considering the time the octet had to rehearse, perform, and record, this is incredibly fine music. I can imagine how pieces could get stronger with more performances (alas, only 2 European dates on Ms. Davis' website) but this recording is mighty good. For more information, go to www.krisdavis.net.
Here's a taste of this fine recording: