Graham Collier — Hoarded Dreams
(Cuneiform Rune 252, 1983/2007, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2008-01-01On a purely practical level, this release is hard to categorize. It is the first wide appearance of a performance from the Bracknell Jazz Festival in 1983, so it is both a new release and an archival recording. Collier was commissioned to write an extended piece and allowed to pick any musicians he wanted, and the result was a 19-piece band that’s not much like a traditional jazz big band, though the music is undoubtedly jazz. Five winds (saxes, flutes, and clarinets of various sizes), five trumpet/flugelhorns, three trombones, a tuba, two guitars, piano, bass, and drums follow Collier’s direction through various sections of composition and improvisation. While some sections are very free, featuring improvisation of three or four players at once, there’s enough coherence to keep it from wandering off into chaotic self-indulgence. Given the fact that this was not a standing ensemble, but a collection of people brought together for one performance, the amount of cohesion is simply astounding, giving eloquent testament to the intuitive talents of all. I didn’t do an actual tally, but it seems that each player gets at least one spotlight moment. Collier’s writing is spot on at each turn, with contrasting sections, driving grooves, reflective interludes, tasty ensemble bits, and interesting combinations of elements. I hope all those in the audience were aware of what a special event they were part of, and while I don’t know what kept this one in the vaults for so long, I’m glad it’s out now.
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more