Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Transcendence Quartet Rises Above.

Ras Moshe: Transcendence.KMB 007

Now I'm a dingbat for taking so long to finish this piece. I sort of promised Ras I'd be done a month ago but I'm old and dumb too so my handle on all the work done by the new cohort of label owners and concert makers is pretty crappy from 12 years of digging ditches in Seattle.

So, at the time I hadn't much of a clue about Erics label nor did I realize Transcendence is one of its issues as I got it in a simple burn form Ms. Dulberger and got Ras to send me the cut line up.I never managed to add 1 and 1 and let him know I'm writing about it. Whee! the joys of encroaching senescence.

In Transcendence Mr Moshe evinces a gauzy gossamer of textured tone solely his own with island breeze warmth. It seems to come from some deep wide kettle and among the old Masters long gone, it recalls Wardell Gray, Ben Webster or Hank Mobley. And it has a winning collectivity in a Moshe method of leadership without bossiness. It is about alert friends having fun at some elevated plane. The array of capabilities Mr Moshe brings to the table of playing and shaping compositions are also lush and full of promise well fulfilled.

Dave Ross is another of the growing cohort of guitarists who make the instrument an honest part of ensemble practice rather than an intrusive showboat mess as was common in the days of fusion. He likes legato phrasing of melody, evidently revels in the intrinsic beauty of chord voicing and makes intensity out of a mighty shaking of partials, microtones, micro percussive sonics unimpeded by tonality and a striking capacity for sound washes through frequency range shifts.

Shayna Dulberger owns a vast bass estate she roams with alacrity as if the sum total of all who have passed before found a home in her. More detailed descriptives may be found here.

Charles Downs has few peers but many colleagues who use their whole four limbed selves in the service of a drum kit. And he is one of the originals having been an astute participant since the 1970s.

Transcendence has melodic stepwise one up one down phrases on tenor open with demure ensemble assistance gradually rising. Ms Dulberger walks the back and forth waltz lilt with chord punctuation from Mr. Ross amid Mr. Downs impeccable evocation of the terrain.

Mr. Moshe then steps aside as Dave Ross builds to a blurry flurry hurry
wringing rings of tiny bellish tones and partials whirring whirl welling. The ensemble subsides to Ms. Dulberger's plucky pluck of a singing solo before a chiming marks Mr. Downs entrance in the full regalia of free drum majesty of all limbs taking on a life of their own. Mr. Moshe then remakes the melody from its middle and leads to the close.

Far Sight finds Mr Moshe open opening straight out of the gate with ballad lushness as the ensemble rises around him closely accompanied by Mr Downs at first then a layering of Ms Dulberger and Mr Ros
s voicing bright plump chords and woven melody strum and pick in its answering ballad quietude. It is suite-ish and has a fine fanfare structure woven with balladry convened by a plucky plucked sing of a Dulberger solo attended by a gradual subtle rise of Mr Ross and Mr Downs to make an entrance entrancing of Ras Moshe horn sing to bring it home.

If You See Something,Say Something is a son of Sun ship memories. Tenor drum union opens with that readily notable seeking sense that is a central part of the music. Mr Moshe moves beyond the diatonic with a run of pulsed long tone smears before tha cathartic abandonment into sound flow before it stops on a dime.

Dave Ross contributed
Sun Room . It answers old school contemplative jazz strummery in a way better fit to its day. He opens with reflective day boundary stillness, daybreak or eventide porches of summer. Before long the tempo picks up and the ensemble arises to build on the gospel choir climbing from Mr. Moshes tenor. Mr. Downs fits the moment to a tee from a tom and cymbal center.

Flute Peace For Charles Lloyd has atmospheric flute serenity rest in a quiet celestial made of chime and Cymbal textures. That's it. Other worldly feel of rain forest pre-storm calm is their gift to a listener.

All Flow
offers a warm balladish feel with a fanfare opening. It is demure at onset and makes me think of longing. Ms. Dulberger is the leading solo past the opening and digs deep into the moment with Ross and Downs subtleties in attendence.

Much of it has the full ensemble. Mr Ross sings his part in duet in the latter part of gorgeous tone melody building to a miniature of complete array with a bowed bridge built by Ms Dulberger to carry the ensemble to its fully gathered conclusion.

Carol Not Christmas is the second Dave Ross contribution. A run of chords voice an opening with Mr Downs making a quiet framing of brush and cymbal. Long tone low end rises from Ms Dulbergers bow leading to Mr. Moshe to propel a small motif of a few tones into a flight of maximum texture with freedom from the diatonic with a fully revved ensemble before Ms Dulberger takes it home with a bow.

Interstellar Brooklyn is a companion piece to Flute Peace in that it is a duet of Mr. Moshe and Mr. Downs. The drums are alpha and omega. Mr. Moshe dives into melodic variation overdrive with texture darting out of the flow throughout.

Turtles All The Way Down is Shayna Dulbergers composition and opens with her, solo joined by Mr. Moshe after a moment in a still and quiet texture. Then a surprising eruption of the entire ensemble ensues of high density texture that washes away while Mr. Moshe begins with a slowed down longer tone ballad arc.

It is a stunning contrast like a serene Lester Young busker moment amid subway rush hour. Mr Moshe then steps on the gas and joins in the frenzy.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Koreana and the Zither Stream.

Korea has a very unusual array of sonic traditions and ways of thinking about sound. It has several systems for ceremonial court music. One is uniquely its own and could be a valuable resource for those who really seek to think outside of the sonic box.

The particular form which I ineptly remember involves metallic sounds and wood block sounds amid silences and a churning sense of surprise.

I had a Lyrichord cd of it but gave it away to Lola Danza as it is part of her heritage.

Now one hobby I have as an amateur ethnomusicologist is tracing phenotype patterns of instrument preference. Gongs are a big deal in the regions of Indonesia and the Phillipines moving up to Indochina where the Zither continuum begins.

In Vietnam the instrument is called a dan tranh. It becomes the guzheng in China, the koto in Japan and finally, the kayagum in Korea. More summer sounds, enjoy!.