Think country music, and crisp, three minute twangin' story songs float through your head; think harmolodics, and the extended free-flowing instrumental improvisations championed by Ornette Coleman come to mind. A combination of the two? Get on outta here.
But as strange and incompatible as this musical marriage might sound, a couple of listens to An Afternoon in Austin..or Country Music for Harmolodic Souls by steel guitarist Susan Alcorn and vocalist/guitarist/banjo man Dr. Eugene Chadbourne suggest a logical, perhaps inevitable combination of concepts.
The CD is organized around some standard and relatively concise country stuff: Mickey Newbury's "How I Love Them Old Songs" and Loretta Lynn's "I Got Caught," with the harmolodic tinge creeping into stretched out takes on A.P. Carter's (the Carter Family Patriarch) "Hello Stranger" and (the diamond in the hatband of the set) an eleven and a half minute, meandering take on Merle Haggard's "If We Make it Through December." This tune is full of improvisational twangs and twitters and eddying steel songlets, featuring Dr. Chadbourne's unpretentious and Merle-esque vocalsa song that sounds like some kind of off-the-cuff, down-on-the-luck, blue collar Symphony Americana.
Harmolodics takes center stage on two extended improv pieces, "Albourne" and "Sugene". Loose, relaxed, back porch atmosopherics, conjuring surreal images of sage brush and barbed wire and dusty cowboy boots, sun-bleached cattle skulls and pale blue skies.
Gorgeous, compelling and very American sounds. Makes you wonder why this hasn't been done before.
I grew up listening to my father's jazz records and listening to the radio. My dad was a musician for many years as a vocalist, bassist and drummer. His two uncles played in the Symphony of Reggio Calabria back in Italy
I grew up listening to my father's jazz records and listening to the radio. My dad was a musician for many years as a vocalist, bassist and drummer. His two uncles played in the Symphony of Reggio Calabria back in Italy. So music and jazz specifically have been a part of me since I was born. I love and perform in all styles of music from around the world. Improvisation in jazz is what drew me in, and still does as well as other genres that feature improvisation. A group of great musicians expressing themselves as one is the hallmark of great jazz and in fact all great music.