Hugh Hopper & Alan Gowen — Two Rainbows Daily
(Cuneiform Rune 77, 1978/1995, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 1996-03-01
Another example of re-issue heaven? This album is (to my knowledge) the only bass / keyboard duet album made from a Canterbury link (Gilgamesh / Soft Machine). Originally released in the UK/USA in 1978, it found its way into semi-obscurity almost immediately upon release. Another fine album of jazz improvisation which showcases harmonic and compositional sensitivity (probably the trademark of all Canterbury releases). Rhythm on the original eight songs is primarily held down by a slow, calculated interaction between keyboards and fuzz bass lines: no busy flash playing here. "Morning Order" has a very subtle synth intro alternating with crisp, restrained bass playing, two layers of keyboards building a slow, sedate atmosphere — Gowen's stamp on nearly all his work. The title track is probably the only truly bright, optimistic moment on the disc; featured is Gowen's acoustic piano, underpinned by drone-like Moog tones, and a nice wandering bass chart. "Elibom" is also a standout counterpoint piece, one of my favorite of all Hopper compositions. An additional five bonus tracks have been added onto the disc which comprise live performances from September 1980 made with Nigel Morris, drums (ex-Isotope, along with Hopper). These pieces are live tracks that show how well this trio could interplay off each other without getting too free. Also included are brand new liner notes by Hopper that help shed some more light on the workings of Gowen and cohorts at the this time. A closing note: according the Stewart / Gaskin website, this is disc was re-released almost exactly at the same time as another select Gowen project: Before a Word Is Said (also reviewed in this issue). Enjoy!
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
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 Santana, 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