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"The Gradual Instant nothing could be more apt in describing the way this Reuben Radding disc is constructed. Each instant might take a moment, or three minutes, or longer. The episodic qualities of each track ensure adventure, introspection and transcendence for anyone inclined toward patience.
This is not the Radding I've known. Sure, jazz lurks in the wings, ready to spring forth with post-Ayleresque freedom surrounding it like a halo, as on "Phosphorus, but jazz isn't the point. Much of the material conjures dizzying visions of AMM and the Spontaneous Music Ensemble combined. Even the moments that breathe the air of jazz tradition are surrounded by a much broader, even contemporary aesthetic, so that history itself is evoked as a gradual instant, guiding and propelling each asymmetrical moment forward.
Radding did have compositional plans for these pieces, but he's used them as blueprints, allowing for all manner of flexibility in execution. He's not the only accomplished composer on the date; with Matt Bauder, there's also a certainty of that elusive thing sometimes called "spontaneous composition," which Radding takes full advantage of.
The opening of "The Way Station is a case in point. Is it Bauder trilling over everything in microtonal bliss, or is that Nate Wooley's trumpet? Is that an airhorn at the beginning? The ambiguities abound, making for extraordinary listening, perhaps Radding's strongest statement yet.
Track Listing: The Stone Carriers; Phosphorus; Terra Nullius; The Way Station; Vertical Time; The Drowned City; The Gradual Instant.
Personnel: Reuben Radding: double bass;
Matt Bauder: tenor saxophone, clarinet;
Andrew Drury: percussion;
Nate Wooley: trumpet.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.