Sometimes music makes you want to become a better dancer, or maybe even a better lover. With Roscoe Mitchell's music, you can't help but aspire to be a better listener. The co-founder of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians creates sounds that transcend jazz, new classical, and avant-garde musics. With Distant Radio Transmission he presents music that he previously recorded (solo or in small improvising groups) and reworked for a 33-piece orchestra, chamber trio, a woodwind quintet, and the Yamaha Disklavier, a programable piano. If you're thinking this is equivalent to the 'Big Bang' theory of the creation of universe, you are correct.
The centerpiece of this diverse recording is the 20-minute "Distant Radio Transmission," taken from an improvisation recorded in trio with Kikanju Baku and Craig Taborn on Conversations 1 (Wide Hive Records, 2013). The trio improvisation was transcribed by Stephen P. Harvey, then orchestrated by Mitchell for the 33-piece Ostravska Banda. With Mitchell on sopranino saxophone and the wordless vocals of Thomas Buckner, the music, which begins spontaneously, becomes a designed mountainous pilgrimage of sounds and a cinematic motion. "Nonaah Trio" draws from a brief saxophone solo from 1974 which was later repurposed by the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and here is interpreted by a piano/flute/oboe trio. This chamber adaptation works through a thoroughly noted score, daring you to dig for the music's provenance. "Cutouts for Woodwind Quintet" is a commissioned composition with notations for extended technique and "8.8.88" is a three movement suite performed on a programmed Yamaha Disklavier. The dizzying speed and complexity which Mitchell's score is performed boggles and overwhelms the mind.
Distant Radio Transmission; Nonaah Trio; Cutouts for Woodwind Quintet; 8.8.88 Pt 1; 8.8.88 Pt 2; 8.8.88 Pt 3.
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