Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Listening Booth, week 33, 2011: Planetary Unknown

First installment this fall. Taking things step by step, but I am hoping to step it up a bit from now on.
  • David S. Ware, Cooper-Moore, William Parker & Muhammad Ali: Planetary Unknown (AUM Fidelity, 2011) - I initially struggled to write about this. While I found it intriguing from first listen, I had some trouble finding something to hook on to. Even the most raucous of Ware's music tends to build from themes or melodic launch pads, but this sounded tentative at first. Until I realized, that is part of the point. This is exploratory music, and suddenly you notice small patterns emerging within each composition, and the conversation that develops from there: from the hushed to the rowdy, and the sections in between, never staying in the same place for too long. These four wonderful musicians - by now all legends in their own right - have played with each other in various constellations before, but never together as a quartet, to my knowledge. Their understanding of each other's musical language, how they react to what is being "said" by the others and the ideas they develop from there, is part of what makes this a wonderful and very interesting record. 8 *
* Grades are tentative, based on three or four listens, though quite often a few more. Much of the writing is done during listens, and should be considered notes rather than final reviews.

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