Not a prayer; not a ghost of a chance. That's what Dave Storrs would have if he had to shop his musical art around to the big labels. Percussionist Storrs - and his preferred musicians and instrumental configurations - deal (for the most part) with improvised music, spontaneous composition, and free jazz. The big labels have jettisoned guys like Henry Threadgill and Ornette Coleman. So what's an artist to do? If you're Storrs, you set up a studio in your garage out there in Corvallis, Oregon and gain complete freedom to create your art.
Intention by the Tone Sharks is the latest on Dave Storrs' Louie Records label. The sound is bracing, cool and clean and clear, as if the Sharks are schooling in the deep, dense, steel-blue waters and inexorable currents of the Pacific, not too many miles from Dave's garage.
Intentions is a very contained and disciplined effort from The Tone Sharks. The words "free jazz" and "spontaneous composition" can conjure images of untamed cacophonies, unsynchronized flailings, unpleasant clamor. But The Tone Sharks have evolved in the direction of collective consciousness, with a sound that is both tight and fluid at the same time. The compositions have a free feel and are a bit amorphous - reminiscent of Henry Threadgill's work - and are anchored by the Hundemer/Storrs rhythm section, with a crystalline alto sax/guitar sound weaving around them. No extended solos; a seamless ensemble sound, focused on subtlties and clean clear tones, with a remarkable unity and a Zen-like calm.
For more about Louie Records - and the nuts and bolts and travails of running a small independent label - there is an excellent Dave Storrs artist profile at Louie Records .
Track Listing: First Intention, The School, Buoyancy, Bubbling Up, Flittering Sunfish,
Lurking, Swimming Noses, Skates, Falling Morsels, Unchallenged, On
Personnel: Tom Bergeron, alto sax; Tom McNalley, guitar; Page Hundemer, bass;
Dave Storrs, drums
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.