William Roper with Judicanti Responsura & Zen Tsuba: Juneteenth
Juneteenth denotes the date when the slaves of Eastern Texas were freed, yet as Roper cites in the liners: “Of the moment. Really, this is what the album is about: finding and expressing freedom(s) within the context of structures. Even in slavery people do this.” Thus, on pieces such as “The Perfect Construction of Decisive Moments", Roper and percussionist Joseph Mitchell render jazzy explorations via disparate harmonic statements, counterpoint and buoyantly executed melodies. On “Kagami Jishi,” Roper, the late pianist/modernist Glenn Horiuchi (playing shamisen here), Lillian Nakono (Horiuchi's aunt and shamisen expert), Francis Wong (flute), and Tom Kurai (taiko) meld far eastern modalities into quaintly exotic frameworks. By contrast, Roper injects pumping blues-based lines into motifs framed around barely detectable drum patterns, subliminal underlying currents, and simply stated beauty on “Lachrimae.” Recommended!
Track Listing: Juneteenth; Pigs, Pigs, Oh! Those Tasty Pigs; The Perfect Construction of Decisive Moments; Kagami Jishi; Dance of the Sophists; A Recondidte State of Lorn; Lachrimae
Personnel: William Roper; tuba: Joseph Mitchell; percussion: Glenn Horiuchi(guest); piano: Lillian Nakano; shamisen: Francis Wong (guest); flute: Tom Kurai (guest); taiko
Record Label: Asian Improv Records