Evan Parker ElectroAcoustic Septet: Seven

29 06 2015

Evan Parker ElectroAcoustic Septet: Seven

Evan Parker ElectroAcoustic Septet: Seven

Seven (Victo CD 127)

Peter Evans / trompette piccolo, trompette, Okkyung Lee / violoncelle,  George Lewis / électroniques, trombone, Ikue Mori / électroniques, Sam Pluta / électroniques, Ned Rothenberg / clarinette basse, clarinette, shakuhachi, Evan Parker / saxophone soprano.
Recorded: Live at the 30th Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville May 18th, 2014.

Seven presents a compact, slimmed down, lean version of Evan Parker’s Electro-Acoustic Ensemble. The expansive, texturally rich music of the septet brings to mind the edgy feel of early free improvisation.

Parker’s compositional method is simple:

“My art of composition consists in choosing the right people and asking them to improvise. The resulting music arises from this sequence of decisions.
My art of composition consists in choosing the right people and these are the right people”

Of course, it is not quite so simple; for choosing the “right people” entails a knowledge of who those people are and what they might bring to the improvisational discourse.

In this case, two of the acoustic instrumentalists – Rothenberg and Evans – are players who, in forging their own identities, have fully entered into Parker’s own mind-bending, circularly-probing musical methodology.

Evan Parker ElectroAcoustic Septet: Seven

The four electronics players (with Lewis doubling sparingly but incisively on trombone) approach the electro-acoustic gathering differently than the way players normally do in Parker’s large ElectroAcoustic Ensembles. While in those ensembles, the electronic players have been mainly signal or sound processors who primarily reshape and remold sounds of other ensemble members, here the electro musicians do that only moderately. Through varied technical means, they emit a distinctive particulated sound field that exists as an interactive but dimensional counterpoint to the acoustic instrumental output.

Much of the edginess of Seven stems directly from this. For while the performance (in two parts) has the feel of a true organically-arrived-at ensemble music, the respective acoustic and electro players – due to the entirely different manners in which they are producing sounds – follow different “logical” trajectories. The two “logics” together in the one musical space create a good deal of the music’s inner tension.

Evan Parker ElectroAcoustic Septet: Seven

It is worth noting that in early free improvisation – say from the period of Topography of the Lungs (Incus 1, July 1970) onward – much of the tension in the music – which is the push-and-pull between known and unknown, cohesion and dissolution – was due to the players’ courageous ongoing expansion of instrumental language. But players have pushed language to its virtual tipping point; so that what once sounded outrageous and demanding of innovative responses is now heard as commonplace. So presently, it seems, formal expansions – such as we hear in the collusion of logic differentials in this music – may be more the way forward.

To be sure, both the acoustic and electro musicians of Seven are at the top of their games. While there is an overarching dramatic contour to the music – it rises and falls, opens and closes, shifts densities – the whole unfolds with unselfconscious effortlessness; it feels unscripted and of the moment.

Evan Parker ElectroAcoustic Septet: Seven

The acoustic players, while sensitive to each other, pursue the inner and outer ranges of their instruments with an independence tempered only by self-imposed structural imperatives. Evans’ trumpet frequently masks itself in electronic-sounding metallic and breathy slurs. Lee’s stringy cello pulls and tugs at the direction of the ensemble or gets lost in staccato electro barrages. Rothenberg opens and ends the long first piece on shakuhachi which, in the midst of atmospheric electro rumblings, might pass for music from a Japanese sci-fi samurai film. And Parker – always a sympathetic co-conspirator – lends full support to his musical compatriots on his most agile instrument, the soprano saxophone, which he alternately rides to levels approaching the complexity of his solo music.

The electro players for their part – I am unable to differentiate between them individually – counter the acoustic sounds with otherworldly smears, stutters, sloshes, and scribbles; or explosively pointillistic sparks, crackles, gurgles, and prickly static.

It all adds up to exceptionally stimulating music for the listener, at the center of which is an edginess we’ve long associated with classically great free improvisation.

Henry Kuntz – June 2015

The Ecstatic Center | HBD 02 | Free Download

11 06 2015

The Ecstatic Center | HBD 02 | Free Download

The Ecstatic Center | HBD 02

Free HUMMING BIRD Download Only Release

Free MP3 Download Available Here… (30:01)

HENRY KUNTZ: Nepalese Flute & Soprano Recorder (played together), Morocco double-reed Rhaita, Tenor Saxophone.

Performance of July 25, 1999 Beanbenders at Fine Arts Theatre Berkeley, California. On-location digital recording and original mastering & mix by Michael Zelner.

Thanks to Dan Plonsey who invited me to play at Beanbenders and to Michael Zelner who exquisitely captured the diverse sounds of the instruments.

listen to Nepal Flute – Soprano (excerpt)

listen to Rhaita (excerpt)

The Ecstatic Center | HBD 02 | Free Download

In June 1999 I attended the Festival National des Arts Populaires in Marrakech, Morocco, a 10-day music and dance extravaganza that featured more than 30 indigenous ensembles from diverse parts of the country.

The Ecstatic Center | HBD 02 | Free Download

Most musical performances took place at the city’s centuries-old palace, the Palais Badia, but ensembles also appeared in parade – an opportunity to hear all of the music side by side – and in Marrakech’s storied square, the Djemaa el-Fa. In the Djemaa el-Fa, one would regularly encounter a wild mix of snake charmers, storytellers, magicians, jugglers, acrobats, and others demonstrating strange skills, such as the ability to walk unscathed over broken glass and fire.

The Ecstatic Center | HBD 02 | Free Download

At the center of nearly all of the music were exuberant and captivating melodic/rhythmic flights of fancy built upon an evolving series of lines in repetitive motion. These were played by flutes of various types and sizes, by double-reed rhaitas, by plucked or bowed string instruments, or ritually sung by male or female voices.

The sweltering dynamic of this part of the music – surrounded by a bold mix of rhythmic counterpoints emanating from drums, hand-clapping, singing, high-pitched female ululations – could easily sweep one away. But the music was nearly always grounded by dance, which often included movements of great athleticism. And despite the music’s insistent forward momentum, it was not really going any place; rather, its effect was to propel one immediately into the Present. This aspect of the music is what I came to think of as its Ecstatic Center.

Less than a month following my return from Morocco, I performed at Beanbenders’ new series at Berkeley’s Fine Arts Cinema. The improvising for this solo performance was inevitably inspired by the in-depth experience of the music I had heard on my recent journey.

For the performance, I dressed in a silky cream and green-striped Moroccan djelaba and wore an emerald green half-face mask, the intention being to remove my known personality from the presentation and to allow the music to be heard as much as possible on its own terms.

The music, excellently recorded by Michael Zelner, has been sitting quietly for a lot of years. Not long ago, I came across it again, and it felt like it was time to bring it into the light.

– Henry Kuntz, March 2015

Henderson Pavilion to Host the 2015 Las Vegas Jazz Festival

11 06 2015

Henderson Pavilion to Host the 2015 Las Vegas Jazz Festival

The Las Vegas Jazz Festival returns on Friday, September 25, taking place at a new venue just outside of Sin City. The festival made its debut in the JW Marriott Resort & Spa over two years ago, and with tickets selling out for the last two events, Henderson Pavilion will be the new venue that will accommodate the growing number of attendees. It’s the largest outdoor amphitheater and the most sought-after live music venue in the state.

Many music fans are unaware of this fledgling festival, mostly because the jazz scene is still relatively young in this gambling-centric city, with the majority of visitors to Nevada making the trip to sample some many of the gaming establishments Sin City has to offer. Despite Las Vegas being far for most people, Intercasino explain on their blog that many are still willing to travel across the globe to experience the fun, thrills, and excitement you get from gambling. But when people travel to Vegas these days, they’re looking for more variety in entertainment beyond the casinos. Unlike before, music is now a huge part of the city’s tourism industry, drawing visitors from all over the world with the concerts and variety of music festivals hosted throughout the year. Las Vegas has since grown from the Wayne Newton lounge tunes and has welcomed a number of musical communities, more recently the jazz community.

Several jazz artists will be returning this year, including Will Downing and Anthony Hamilton, who is a regular at the New Orleans Jazz Fest. The Isley Brothers and Toni Braxton are among the new faces of the festival that will surely draw in a bigger crowd than previous years. Although the event this year isn’t located in the Valley, Henderson attracts lots of Vegas visitors because of its pavilion, the

Check out the complete lineup for the 2015 fall festival:

Friday, September 25
Erykah Badu
Marsha Ambrosius

Saturday, September 26:
Toni Braxton
Will Downing
Kelly Price
Elan Trotman & Tim Bowman
Phil Flowers
Shy Girls

Sunday, September 27:
Anthony Hamilton
The Isley Brothers
Mint Condition
Stephanie Mills
Marion Meadows & Paul Taylor
Eric Roberson

Visit the main website for more details on the festival.