Joseph Kudirka is a Michigan-born composer who studied at Northwestern Universitywhere he met Michael Pisaro who was teaching there at the timebefore following Pisaro to California Institute of the Arts, and then crossing the Atlantic to study for his PhD at Huddersfield University. Prior to composing, Kudirka's own musical history was as a bassist in local youth orchestras and bands. This album consists of recordings of eight Kudirka compositions dating from the years 2005 to 2011. They are exquisitely played by the ensemble Apartment House and were mainly recorded in April 2015, with one dating from June 2012.
While only eight compositions are played, the album consists of fourteen tracks because four of the compositions are played only once, two others appear in two versions and two others in three versions. Very helpfully, Another Timbre has posted online copies of Kudirka's scores for the eight pieces. In conjunction with the recorded versions, they make fascinating reading. They vary from the "text score" (a term Kudirka says he dislikes) of "Tender," which seems to be a dictionary definition of the title word, through to the completely notated "21st Century Music" or "Dulcimer." But whatever the format, the overwhelming impression they create is of simplicity, with choice and control being given to the musicians.
The inclusion of those multiple versions was inspired; despite their differences, subtle or otherwise, they help build up a Rashomon-style view that is more detailed and rich than any one version alone could supply. So, although its score gives no directions to players, the two versions of "Tender," recorded on the same day, by the same six players, end up being remarkably similar in mood and durationfifty-three and forty-seven seconds, respectively. (Maybe that was the result of the musicians having discussions between the two recordings, rather than telepathy on their part?) In contrast, "Wyoming Snow," which is notated across thirty-seven stave lines, is given two very different readings by two different groups of players, the one from 2012 lasting eight-and-a-half minutes, the other from 2015 just topping six minutes. Despite their different lengths and instrumentations, those two versions generate very similar moods, evolving slowly with sustained tones which build rich soundscapes that are soothing and tranquil, without any shocks, surprises or unnecessary embellishment.
Across its fourteen tracks, lasting some fifty-three minutes altogether, the album builds up a consistent picture of Kudirka's music that seems at odds with the diverse formats of his scores. His music is serious, simple and spacious. As so often in recent years, Another Timbre has shone the spotlight on a remarkable composer, one who will be worthy of attention for decades.
Track Listing: Tender; Beauty and Industry; Two Sections; 21st Century Music; Wyoming Snow; An Orchestral Fantasy; Beauty and Industry second version; Grey; Two Sections second version; Dulcimer; Two Sections third version; Beauty and Industry third version; Tender second version; Wyoming Snow second version.
Personnel: Bridget Carey: viola (1-9, 11-13); Simon Limbrick: percussion (1-3, 5-13; Anton Lukoszevieze: cello (1-9, 11-14); Nancy Ruffer: flutes (1-3, 5-13); Philip Thomas: piano (1-3, 5-9, 11-14); Kerry Yong: celesta (1-3,5-13), chamber organ (1-9, 11-13); Angharad Davies: violin (14); Phil Durrant: electronics (14); Jürg Frey: clarinet (14); Rado Malfatti: trombone (14); Lee Patterson: amplified processes (14).
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.