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Yusef Lateef/Adam Rudolph-Go: Organic Orchestra: In the Garden

Rex  Butters By

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Adam Rudolph’s third recording with the Go:Organic Orchestra finds the master percussionist in collaboration with longtime friend and associate, jazz legend Yusef Lateef. The recording documents a performance at Venice’s Electric Lodge, a homebase for Rudolph. Uniting 22 of our town’s most interesting musicians including Emily Hay, Bennie Maupin, Sara Schoenbeck, Chris Heenan, Cory Wright, Alex Cline, and Harris Eisenstadt, In the Garden features performances from the entire orchestra as well as moving duets by Rudolph and Lateef. The two co-conspirators have evolved a compositional system so intimate they finish each other’s lines, and so flexible that Rudolph influences the players’ direction with hand gestures, his conducting more precisely sculpting. The collision of veteran cats with hungry young urbanites underlines an already vivid sense of ancient futures in the music.

The first disc opens with Munyungo Jackson’s marimbula sounding like a tenor kalimba. Lateef enters on bamboo flute, playing a brief invocation before the winds blow color and a rich drum pit yawns with percussionists lining up behind Jackson. After Ralph Jones performs some hichiriki hocus pocus with the horns, Rudolph stirs the pot with chant, setting up David Philipson’s ravishing bansuri solo. The track, “Little Tree,” ends abruptly. A slap on the drum starts “Nanna,” the first of the two Rudolph/Lateef duets. Lateef insinuates some ragged tenor sax tones between Rudolph’s surprisingly musical drum work. Lateef branches out farther and farther, eventually running into some sweet flute accents from the Orchestra.

An uneasy dream world unfolds on “Morphic Resonance,” with lush flute tones moving slowly and Eisenstadt’s brushwork running like small burning mammals. Maupin displays his mastery of the bass clarinet in conversation with Lateef’s flute and Karen Elaine Bakunin’s viola. Her austere tones offset nicely the giddy flutes. Smearing flute sounds open “Lobelia, Euphorbia, Rock,” with Maupin’s pensive musings setting the pace. A moody arrangement frames Maupin who perseveres through the lurching piece. Lateef blows small calls on tenor with a static orchestra broken open by the sizzling cymbals of Cline and Eisenstadt on “Trace Elements.” After the pace simmers down, Sara Schoenbeck emerges to duet with Lateef.

A searching flute trio of Ralph Burns, Emily Hay, and Ellen Burr circle and explore with hand drummers churning. Their growing intensity fuels the band and the bass clarinets work a nudging riff. Into the heated tumult that follows Chris Heenan shoots sparks and flares from his bass clarinet. Lateef whips a frenzied tenor through the terraced arrangement, unraveling it until his striking explorations with porous tone come lovingly adorned with concise flute and drum strokes.

The second disc pictures a caravan in motion with Lateef’s temple flute soaring over the tight percussion ensemble on “Amanita.” The driving rhythm continues with horns sounding like Balinese frog song, then Lateef takes over on flute, with imagination to spare and strong marimbula support. As a multilayered arrangement coalesces, Lateef takes a ride on tenor.

The three part suite “Formative Impulse” puts longtime Rudolph collaborator Ralph Jones in the conductor’s seat for part one, “Branch,” and he guides a light arrangement over Maupin’s heavy, evocative bass clarinet. The percussion section opens Pt. 2, “Rain,” like a pit of snakes, hisses and rattles. Paul Sherman’s oboe entwines Lateef’s flute, as the percussionists add color. Rudolph gives a glimpse of his sonic range before Lateef’s tenor joins him for their second duet on Part 3, “Seed.” Rudolph uses congas, djembe, and tarija as an orchestra in itself, Lateef blowing short dry cries through Rudolph’s hectic hand work. Orchestra members contribute small arranged accents through Lateef’s ever more engrossing saxophone creativity. Toward the end, wind players play only the sound of their keys which in unison sounds like a great clock.

The deep and mysterious ”Moisture Droplet” has Jones and Lateef on alto flutes, rising from a bass clarinet figure. Hand drummers and percussionists keep rhythm, while Eisenstadt starts and darts over cymbals. The mists part to reveal Schoenbeck playing economically on bassoon. Lateef lays down some crackling cruzaphone. “Chaotic Attractors” breeds from a loosely formed sketch into an ecstatic complex rite with Lateef playing Pan on tenor.

With In the Garden, Rudolph and Lateef have taken “multi-culti” to a level that transcends borders and arrives at a quintessential humanity through inclusion.

Track Listing: Disc 1-Little Tree; Nanna; Morphic Resonance; Lobelia, Euphorbia, Rock; Trace Elements; Root Pressure. Disc 2-Amanita; Formative Impulses; Moisture Droplet; Chaotic Attractors.

Personnel: Pablo Calogero, bass clarinet, bass flute, tibetan longhorn; Gustavo Bulgach, clarinet, bamboo flute; Paul Sherman, oboe, english horn, baroque oboe;Sara Schoenbeck, bassoon, sonai;Fawntice McCain, flute, suling, tin whistle, ocarina, harmonica; Tracy Wannomae,clarinet, flute, bamboo flutes, whistle; Matt Zebley, alto clarinet, bamboo flute; Chris Heenan, bass clarinet, bamboo flute, pungi; Cory Wright, bass clarinet, clarinet, kena; Karen Elain Bakunin, viola, waterphone; Adam Rudolph, handrumset (congas, djembe, tarija) talking drum, vocal, high balaphone, cajon, selya overtone flute; Yusef Lateef, tenor sax, flute, alto flute, shenai, vocal, cruzaphone, bamboo flutes, selya overtone flute, moan flute, duckaphone; Bennie Maupin, bass clarinet, alto flute, bamboo flute, mini bugle, rain stick, sakuhashi; Ralph Jones, flute, alto flute, hichiriki, ney, bamboo trumpet; Ellen Burr, flute, alto flute, piccolo, bamboo flute, ocarina, jaw harp; David Phillipson, bansuri, suling, Emily Hay, flute, alto flute, piccolo, bamboo flute, train whistle; Alex Cline, gongs, bells, cymbals, woodblocks, bass drum, snare drum, iya batajon; Munyungo Jackson, balafon, kutiro, udu, cajon, marimbula, surdos, iya batajon, talking drum, leg bells, percussion; Harris Eisenstadt, drum set, kutiro, itotele batajon, percussion; Miles Shrewsberry, tabla, frame drum, udu, shakers; Andres Renteria, bata, cajon, bowls, shakers

Title: In the Garden | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Meta


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