All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

231

Rich West: Bedouin Hornbook

Rex  Butters By

Sign in to view read count
This long anticipated Rich West collection rewards the wait. A longtime Los Angeles new music mainstay, West goes with the locals, assembling his band of Bedouins from home-based talent. LA sound scientists and cultural engineers Jeremy Drake and Chris Heenan hold down electric guitar and reeds, respectively. Although familiar to local audiences playing amplified acoustic guitar as a synthesizer, Drake here surprises with deftly straightforward guitar as well as his signature sonic explorations. For Heenan, West and Scott Fraser’s production collects all the subtle sound and nuance he pours into his performances. Scott Ray returns from his highly praised Active Vapor Recovery project to essay the bass parts on e-flat tuba. West’s compositions include Nino Rota like strands of old carnival music and Ray’s tuba makes it real. Bruce Friedman provides sinewy yet lyrical improvisations with an inviting tone.

While you expect strong improvised outings from these musicians, West’s writing delivers unexpected treats. Opening with “Bugge,” the band rises out of lightly articulated noises, including minor mouthpiece manipulations from Heenan, to climb aboard Ray’s funk train. Heenan and Friedman duet a carousel theme, that morphs into Ray’s agile tuba sparring with Heenan’s alto. Drake plays chorded support, and adds to the dialogue. Next, Friedman introduces a lowdown tango suggested by Ray and Drake with West dancing through. Then he joins Ray and Drake in riffing for Friedman’s pungent exploration. “Tribology” busts out the gate with off kilter lurchings. Ray continues to keep everyone honest and Friedman goes through his paces followed by Drake’s Skunk Baxter lead that launches a satellite. Drake stays echoplexed for Heenan’s rough toned run.

A deep didjereedo-like drone and accompanying drones open “Twang.” Heenan and Friedman duet a short figure and the various long tones continue. After their third such interlude, the band works variations on that figure, Drake tangling it like yarn. West has the whole ensemble steadily out of step creating the illusion of looseness. He steers the piece to the fun zone, and the happily oblige.

Small sounds and Heenan pops start “Tychai 1 and 2.” Brief carnivaliyana detours the group improvisation. Heenan on bass clarinet joins with Ray to create the elephant stomp of “Curly.” Friedman takes a bright ride over the bass heavy riff, West rolling the cage with Drake’s funk rhythm guitar. Ray takes the tuba to the basement for “Furcifer.” West honks bozo horns and Drake brings space signals. Friedman plays a counterpoint theme with Ray, Heenan sometimes doubles the line on bass clarinet, and sometimes changes it.

Smart writing from an original voice, and the depth of the players make this a set that should find a long life on the laser player.


Track Listing: Bugge; Tribology; Twang; Tread; Friends of the Vacuum; Tychai 1 and 2; Curly; Furcifer.

Personnel: Rich West- drums; Chris Heenam- bass clarinet, alto saxophone; Bruce Friedman- trumpet; Jeremy Drake- electric guitar; Scot Ray- E-flat tuba.

Title: Bedouin Hornbook | Year Released: 2004

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Home Boy, Sister Out CD/LP/Track Review
Home Boy, Sister Out
by Chris May
Published: July 22, 2018
Read Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album Deluxe Edition CD/LP/Track Review
Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: July 22, 2018
Read The Literature CD/LP/Track Review
The Literature
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2018
Read A History Of Nothing CD/LP/Track Review
A History Of Nothing
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 21, 2018
Read Turbamulta CD/LP/Track Review
Turbamulta
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 21, 2018
Read 3 CD/LP/Track Review
3
by Jim Worsley
Published: July 21, 2018
Read "Surface of Inscription" CD/LP/Track Review Surface of Inscription
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 21, 2017
Read "Lattice" CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by John Sharpe
Published: December 14, 2017
Read "Desert" CD/LP/Track Review Desert
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 1, 2018
Read "Reclamation" CD/LP/Track Review Reclamation
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2017
Read "64:38 Radio Full Liv(f)e" CD/LP/Track Review 64:38 Radio Full Liv(f)e
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "Heaven On Their Minds" CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017