May-10th-2012, 03:46 PM
New Live Recordings By Morris/Parker/Cleaver & Planetary Unknown Coming In July
The celebration of AUM Fidelity's 15th anniversary continues with the July 10th release of two new live recordings. Altitude (AUM073) documents the first-ever performance by the trio of guitarist Joe Morris, bassist William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver during AUM Fidelity's two-week run curating The Stone in New York last June. Live at Jazzfestival Saalfelden 2011 (AUM074) captures the European debut of saxophonist David S. Ware's latest group, Planetary Unknown, featuring the all-star cast of pianist Cooper-Moore, bassist William Parker and drummer Muhammad Ali.
Collectively, Morris, Parker and Cleaver have appeared on hundreds of recordings, including a variety of prominent releases on AUM Fidelity, but this is their first time working together as a trio. Recorded by renowned jazz photographer (and, most recently, recording engineer) Jimmy Katz, the group's inaugural performance on June 17th, 2011 featured two diverse sets of long form improvisation. The first, with Parker on bass, is captured in its entirety on Altitude's first two tracks. The second, featuring Parker playing a three-string lute known as a sintir or Guembri, is excerpted on tracks three and four.
"AUM Fidelity owner Steven Joerg and I first talked about making this recording about 14 years ago," recalls Morris in the liner notes, "and the idea would come up in nearly every conversation we had after that. Other things happened but we never forgot about it. When John Zorn gave Steven two weeks of dates to curate at the Stone in New York City, this group was one of the first things he planned. We knew it would be unique and special."
"It was hot in The Stone on this night," Morris continues. "William, Gerald and I soaked through our clothes playing this music, but we didn’t let the heat stop us or even slow us down. We played the long form—soloing, complementing and juxtaposing parts in the most open context that exists in music. There was a great sense of cooperative engagement at play and we let that inform the content. The ideas poured out. Each of us responded to the others with a sincere attempt to honor every sound and every rhythm, and we enjoyed ourselves. We kept it simple and let it unfold naturally, listening for the discovery of melody, always comfortable on that tremendous platform of rhythm."
Last year, AUM Fidelity introduced the world to a new free jazz supergroup called Planetary Unknown, a quartet of esteemed elder statesmen and master musicians whose experience creating influential spontaneous music spans the past 45 years. Its self-titled debut was included on best-of lists in a variety of publications and inspired critics to call it "gravity-defying" (Marcus O'Dair, Jazzwise), "breathtaking...staggering...mesmerizing" (Marc Medwin, The New York City Jazz Record), "a monumental meeting of the minds" (Ron Hart, JamBands.com), "the rare all-star session that's more than than the sum of its parts" (Jeff Jackson, Jazziz) and "a tour de force of free improvisation from four masters of the form" (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com).
"Each member of the group has spent decades developing a signature on his instrument and investigating all manner of folk and art music, and that depth of knowledge is clear on the developmental, shape-shifting nature of each piece," writes the BBC's Kevin Le Gendre. Culture Catch's Steve Holtje adds, "there is never any disjointedness or hesitation; these veterans organize their thoughts organically, instantly composing at speeds faster than thought. It's an approach that carries great risks, but with players such as these, even greater rewards, and everything works to perfection throughout this album."
In August, following the record's release, and the band's high-profile live debut at the Vision Festival, Planetary Unknown headed to Austria's Jazzfestival Saalfelden, a highly regarded showcase for prominent creative improvisers from around the world for more than 30 years, for another special concert. That entire performance can be heard on Live at Jazzfestival Saalfelden 2011, which features three widely ranging tracks with Ware playing his trademark tenor saxophone exclusively. The resulting release is partly funded and made possible by the support of Zentrum Zeitgenössischer Musik and the 32nd International Jazzfestival Saalfelden©.
Learn more about AUM Fidelity, its recording artists and its other plans to celebrate its 15th anniversary, including a series of concerts at Suoni Per Il Popolo in Montreal and the Vision Festival in Brooklyn, at http://www.aumfidelity.com
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