Inspired by various year end lists ,as well as some late purchases/arrivals, I've be assessing and/or reassessing some records from last year. More will be posted in the coming days.
- William Hooker: Earth's Orbit (NoBusiness) - A limited edition double LP, the first of which, "Bliss (East)", is a live recording with Adam Lane on bass and Darius Jones on alto from The Stone in New York. "Bliss (East)" is groovy, freewheeling jazz, where Hooker's wonderfully skitting drums is pushed along by Lane's deep and rumbeling bass, while Jones honks and screams on top. They mix the heady with mellower parrts, which adds dynamics, and Lane's knack for a groove plus Jones bluesy tone give the music some focus between and during the more rip-roaring parts. Highly exciting set, slightly reminicent of Charles Gayle's great Touchin' On Trane. The secod part, "Bliss (West)", is a live quartet set recorded in San Fransisco with Aaron Bennett on tenor, Weasel Walter on guitar, and Damon Smith on bass. It leans more towards free improvisation, with plenty of skronk provided by both the sax player, the guitarist as well as some bowed bass. In between, they slip into some sludgy noir-like bluesy parts, and with Hooker shouting from behind his kit. "Bliss (West)" is the less engaging of the two sets (I'd say "Bliss (East)" is even close to an 8) but not without it's charms and exciting parts. As a whole, though, Earth's Orbit showcases Hooker as an inventive and lively drummer, playing in two different set-ups with slightly different outcomes, but still keeping an artistic unity which works very well over the space of two vinyl LPs. (7/10)*
* Grades are tentative, based on three or four listens, sometimes a few more. Much of the writing is done during listens, and should be considered notes more than final reviews.