227

Trevor Dunn and Shelley Burgon: Baltimore

Sean Patrick Fitzell By

Sign in to view read count
Trevor Dunn and Shelley Burgon: Baltimore In the pursuit of improvised music, any instrumentation, no matter how unorthodox, is valid, as long as the musicians have the appropriate experimental attitude and chops to back it up. Bassist Trevor Dunn and pedal harpist Shelley Burgon discovered that an expansive vocabulary and reservoir of ideas can make possible a taut, dynamic musical dialogue, even though harp is not normally considered an improvising instrument. In 2005 they went on a two-week DIY tour, performing concerts wherever possible; the final show is captured on Baltimore, a raw six-part improvisation.

With wood and strings as the basic elements, Dunn and Burgon conjure sounds and textures that defy expectations for their instruments. Dunn wields his bow to elicit a shrill wail for dramatic effect on "I. On "III, his arco achieves a delicate whistle. Dunn extends the sonic possibilities with percussive raps on the instrument's body and strings for declarative punctuation. Burgon also evinces a percussive approach, at times plonking the strings and tamping their sustain to accentuate the attack. She eschews stereotypical chorus-of-angels glissandos, except for a brief crescendo in the finale. Instead, she uses an earthier style, scraping the strings and excavating buzzes that approximate the sounds of prepared piano.

The improvisations decisively unfold with little hesitation: ideas are shared and developed. Applying a composer's mindset, Dunn and Burgon imbue tension that is resolved over time, providing an oblique arc to the concert. Even without developed melodic movements, the improvisations sound logical. The two remain tethered, abstractly at times and play with—not against—each other. Spaces are left for notes and phrases to breathe rather than being crushed in a barrage. Baltimore reveals two improvisers who are attuned to the novel possibilities of their uncommon instrumentation and revel in the exploration.


Track Listing: I; II; III; IV; V; VI.

Personnel: Trevor Dunn: contrabass; Shelley Burgon: pedal harp.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Skirl Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
John Zorn John Zorn
sax, alto
Albert Ayler Albert Ayler
sax, tenor
Nels Cline Nels Cline
guitar, electric
Marc Ribot Marc Ribot
guitar
Satoko Fujii Satoko Fujii
piano
Sonny Sharrock Sonny Sharrock
guitar, electric
Fred Frith Fred Frith
guitar
Marc Ducret Marc Ducret
guitar
Chicago Underground Duo Chicago Underground Duo
band/orchestra
Cyro Baptista Cyro Baptista
percussion

More Articles

Read A Dark and Stormy Day CD/LP/Track Review A Dark and Stormy Day
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Pocono Git-Down CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Rímur CD/LP/Track Review Rímur
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Schönbrunn CD/LP/Track Review Schönbrunn
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read "New Normal" CD/LP/Track Review New Normal
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 7, 2016
Read "Things Are Looking Up" CD/LP/Track Review Things Are Looking Up
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 9, 2016
Read "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground" CD/LP/Track Review Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground
by James Nadal
Published: April 8, 2016
Read "Checkpoint" CD/LP/Track Review Checkpoint
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 6, 2016
Read "The Volume Surrounding the Task" CD/LP/Track Review The Volume Surrounding the Task
by John Eyles
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "The Eastcote Studios Session" CD/LP/Track Review The Eastcote Studios Session
by John Eyles
Published: November 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!