Hans Teuber / Paul Rucker — Oil
(Jackson Street JSR004, 2003, CD)
Paul Rucker — History of an Apology
(Jackson Street JSR005, 2003, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2004-09-01
Like Nels and Alex Cline, Satoko Fujii, and even Henry Threadgill (all with their various ensembles), Paul Rucker produces music that is usually referred to as jazz, but has such far-ranging elements that it enters a netherworld beyond straightforward labeling. Of these two recordings on his own Jackson Street Records, Oil, a duo with saxophonist Hans Teuber on which Rucker plays cello, is closest to being unambiguously jazz in the tradition of other fairly free small-group sessions. The two take their cues from each other, with occasional nods to established compositions (listen for a bit of Gershwin’s “Summertime”), and keep the mood serene, with no bursts of extreme angst or noise.
History of an Apology is quite a step up in size of ensemble, complexity of arrangement, and performance energy. Taking as his inspiration the infamous Tuskegee Experiments, Rucker has written a series of pieces ranging from solo voice to an eleven-piece group featuring violin, sax, trumpet, trombone, vibes, accordion, electric guitar, and percussion in addition to his own bass. He gets help from a revolving cast of guests; Amy Denio, Bill Horist, Julian Priester, Bill Frisell, and Michael White, along with Teuber and others, add their talents at various times. Improvisation is balanced nicely with composition, and moments of scattered multiplicity contrast with moments of serenity and beauty. There are times when a repeating bass line topped by loosely arranged horns reminds me of some of the freer tracks Nucleus recorded in the early 70s, and it doesn’t get much better than that.
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more