Allow me, if you will, to sing artistic praises for my brother Paul Vincent who, on July 17, 2021, four days prior to his 60th birthday, lifted off from this dimensional space into Realms of Spirit. You may recall Paul from the three duo recordings he and I made over the last dozen years (Year of the Ox, Jazz Khardma, Double Vision), improvisations on which he contributed a florally dense piano, overlaying the instrument’s strings with small percussion instruments and other objects to expand its timbral and tonal range.
Paul’s main artistic penchant, however, was for his photography, of which he was a master. His work at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston – where he was known for his extensive photographic knowledge and attention to compositional detail – found him at times inside the operating room for groundbreaking surgeries. On his own adventurous career path, documentary photography was what most inspired him. Early on, while driving to classes at the University of Houston, he would pass through that city’s predominantly African-American Third Ward. There he made lifetime friends and extensive community contacts and began documenting the area’s people and vibrant cultural life: its music, funerals, revivals, its energy and flow.
Bright trumpets scream
through steamy ocean mists
sandy midday heat.
Fat tuba bellows
beneath clarinets’ bird-pitched squeals
some golden molten trombone sass.
Dancers male and female
old and young
drunk and sober
shake and twist in the tented shade
raising sea dust plumes.
Quick Afro-Mex beats
drums and drums and
booming bass drum and
crashing cymbals and falling coconuts
pulsate the cumpleaños.
The Pacific pounds
roars and sparkles in
ever widening waves of cerveza foam
come to overtake the fiesta.
Beautiful and indifferent,
the Girl from Ipanema
wafts languidly by
under Canadian eyes, American sighs
a strummy guitar, samba rattles,
and slaps from an African
slave box drum.
An ancient Indio from Oaxaca
in white under
a big brimmed cone straw hat
left over from the Revolution
marches into the midst.
His left hand’s bugle blares a primal ritual tune
his right keeps the old time
on a slack snare drum
slung from his neck.
The young barefoot one
collects silver and gold.
Incoherent crowds of
bathers and sea bunglers
polka-dots of rainbow sombrillas
pursued by hot aromas of
smoked fish garlic shrimp and
the shrill cries of
swooping sea birds.
Parties within parties within parties
and one grand party muchas canciones
on the shores of Jaltemba…
Note: At 1:45 of Piece 1 there is a 6-second dropout of the right channel that occurred during the performance.
Recorded in performance Saturday evening December 20, 1980 (Piece 7: December 21, 1980) at Woody Woodman’s Finger Palace Berkeley, California.
Recording engineer: Greg Goodman
P & C 1981, 2017 Humming Bird Records & Tapes
2) WHIRLS AWAY
The concepts, improvisations and all playing are by Henry Kuntz. Instruments are listed as they appear left to right on stereo speakers. These pieces were recorded on a Fostex X-15 4-track recorder.
1. Whirls Away (23:07) Balinese wood gamelan (15 keys over trough resonator – wood mallets), Balinese gamelan gender (10 iron keys over bamboo resonators – wood hammers), Mexican Indian violin, Balinese bamboo xylophone (11 suspended keys – rubber-tipped mallets)
Recorded: October 30,31,1989 Berkeley California.
2. Spirit Whirls (20:33) Balinese gamelan gender and gamelan selunding (8 large iron keys over trough resonators) played together with wood hammers), Chinese musette, Thai mouth organ, Balinese wood xylophone, bamboo xylophone, and African (Mali) balafon (10 wood keys) played together with rubber-tipped mallets
Recorded: November 1,2,1989 Berkeley California.
1. New Peace Balinese gamelan selunding (played with 2 wood hammers), African (Togo) “fetish gongs” (6 bell-like iron gongs) struck with metal rods, Balinese wood xylophone (wood mallets), Balinese gamelan gender (wood mallets)
Recorded: December 1,2,1989 Berkeley California.
2. Shadow Peace Smaller Balinese bamboo xylophone (11 keys played with rubber mallets), Voice, Bolivian bass flute, Balinese bamboo xylophone (played with rubber mallets)