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Heard by Others

Lenny Pickett

Label: Orenda Records
Released: 2020
Duration: 00:13:00
Views: 214

Tracks

Nogent-Le-Rotrou Alto Clar Fractured Water 1-5-13

Personnel

Lenny Pickett
saxophone, tenor

Album Description

Lenny Pickett - Woodwinds John Hadfield - Percussion Across the globe, the Covid-19 pandemic and accompanying lockdowns have challenged musicians to create new opportunities for collaboration and find inventive ways to approach their creative process. Renowned creators Lenny Pickett and John Hadfield seized the moment to produce a beautiful new EP, HEARD BY OTHERS, which highlights their long association and explores how the listening experience, for musicians and audience alike, is shaped by isolation and the desire for interpersonal connection. Famed multi-woodwind autodidact Lenny Pickett and innovative percussionist/drummer John Hadfield have been making music together for the last 15 years in a variety of contexts. In 2016, they debuted their duo at the storied Cornelia Street Café in Greenwich Village NY, where Hadfield curated an annual percussion festival. The unusual marriage of their two musical voices and instruments allowed them to develop complex melodic grooves to the delight of their audience. Since then, they have continued to collaborate and performed together, but hadn’t found an opportunity to record their duo compositions until the Covid-19 pandemic hit in the spring of 2020. HEARD BY OTHERS is the result of “music in quarantine,” when musicians accustomed to playing in the room together suddenly found themselves isolated by stay-at-home orders. Hadfield and Pickett found themselves quarantined over 5,000 thousand miles apart, Lenny in California and John in rural France, and decided to explore the theme of what it like to be and heard during this time of intense political, economic, and health crisis. For the first time in their respective composing and performing careers, Pickett and Hadfield were unable to play music with or be heard by others. Paradoxically, with no performances or recording sessions in sight, they simultaneously had more time than ever to compose, play, record, and listen to music and each other. HEARD BY OTHERS was born out of the questions: “What is it like to be heard by others when so many around the world are isolated and in vital need of connection and recognition? How do we listen and empathize with others at a time of intense global suffering, when many of us are deeply preoccupied by our own health and economic survival? Does social distance make us better or worse listeners?” Using electronic technology while making primarily acoustic music, Hadfield and Pickett musically explore what it’s like to put aside one’s viewpoint, and to value, listen, and recognize others’ views, even when most conversation, verbal or musical, happens remotely. Each musician contributed two compositions. Lenny Picket explores his compositions with saxophone and clarinets while John Hadfield uses a hybrid drum set. The percussion instrumentation varies from song to song, but includes frame drums, Uchiwa, found metal sounds, seed pods, cymbals, bass drum, snare drum, pots and pans, and a metallic bottle rack identical to the one French artist and provocateur Marcel Duchamps made famous over a century ago by turning it into a sculpture under the title Bottle Rack in 1914. Duchamps raised philosophical questions that still animate the art world: how do we understand an object to be art rather than just a “thing”? What gives meaning art works? What is the role of artists in the transformation of things into art? Similarly, Hadfield and Pickett wonder what it’s like for sounds to become music. What is the respective role of the musicians and the listeners in that transformation and co-production? How does that process compare to verbal and bodily communication whereby humans listen or fail to listen to one another? John Hadfield’s “Fractured Water” addresses the globally unfolding ecological catastrophe, particularly apparent in peoples’ increasingly difficult and unequal access to clean water. As a US citizen temporarily relocated in France during the pandemic, he reflected on the two countries’ divergent approach to hydraulic fracturing. The practice has been banned in France while it continues unabated in the United States, despite its devastating environmental impact in particular water pollution. “Fractured Water” muses on what can go awry when experts are unheard and people’s essential and immediate needs are sacrificed for global profits. “Nogent-le-Rotrou” is named after the small French town where Hadfield was quarantined. This composition illustrates how the Covid- 19 crisis exposes the inextricable connection between the local and the global—the pandemic itself is a global phenomenon, yet the principal response has been highly local, often focused on severing transnational bonds by closing borders, shutting down towns and regions, and blaming outsiders and other nations. Hadfield was inspired by the rich history of the town, a crossroads during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, briefly conquered by the English in 1359 during the Hundred Years’ War, before turning into its current sleepy and isolated self. Orenda Records is proud to release HEARD BY OTHERS during this time of global upheaval. If anything, both the Covid-19 pandemic and musicians’ responses have illustrated the interconnectedness of our entire planet and its people. Lenny Pickett and John Hadfield are artists who embody both the contemplative and the proactive in their work, and this beautiful EP is a joyful listen, enriched by understanding of its underlying considerations. By advocating connection through music, Pickett and Hadfield lead the way toward a future of collaboration and recognition for humanity. credits


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