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The passing of Denis Charles left many rifts on the landscape of creative improvised music one of which was the necessary demise of the trio he shared with Borgmann and Morris. Recouping the loss as best a possible the two surviving musicians enlisted the aid of Reggie Nicholson and embarked on an exhaustive but edifying 8000 mile tour of Europe and the States. This session taped, in the acoustically inviting Spirit Room (which at the time of this writing is the birth place of over 100 recorded documents of improvised jazz) transpired at the end of the tour with all the sights, sounds and experiences of the pilgrimage still crisp in the musicians’ minds.
The hushed quiet of mallets, vibrating strings and wispy tenor beckons the listener into a poignant collage of eulogistic sounds on “Goodbye Mr. Charles.” Borgmann’s initial tone is imbued with a melancholic sadness that is both dark and luminous and Morris’ demulcent plucking echoes similar sentiments. Denis Charles is indeed missed, but Nicholson’s percussive contributions, while demonstrating shades of the departed drummer, are wholly his own. His lengthy solo which comprises the center of the piece is bursting with the beauty of an advanced percussive imagination. Borgmann’s eventual return gradually increases in tempo, his horn sketching unctuous streams atop Morris’ earthen rhythmic pulse. Though nearly a half hour in girth the piece melts away with astonishing rapidity.
Spacious vistas of the American West are evoked on “Fathers and Sons” a tone poem built initially around a Native American drum pattern and chant. Morris’ muffled words and Borgmann’s suspirating saxophone exchange euphonious messages before the piece unfolds into more heated blowing. Soon after the increase in pace Borgmann accomplishes several switches to soprano and back to tenor without missing a beat. “Forecasts” is the shortest of the four of tunes as well as the most conventional in structure. Borgmann, again on tenor, blows blustery lines against a roiling rhythm of Morris’ adroit strums and Nicholson’s crashing cymbals. An unexpected quietude seizes the tune’s last several minutes with the trio wrapped in a reverie of rumination. The somber mood carries over into “Everything Falls Into Place” through Morris’ lengthy pizzicato solo that opens the piece. Borgmann’s tenor and a cadence of cymbals announce more turbulent directions before an eventual close The title of this final piece is in reality indicative of the entire disc. Quite simply this is music of both purity and grace. The end result of three souls who share in a deep loss, but also in an inspiring rejuvenation through the catharsis of music. The old trio may be a remnant of the past, but this new triumverate has a very promising future.
Track Listing: Goodbye Mr. Charles, Mothers & Fathers, Forecasts, Everything Falls Into Place.
Recorded at The Spirit Room, Rossie, New York, October 12, 1998.
Available through Cadence/NorthCountry Distributors (www.cadencebuilding.com)
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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