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Emily Hay comes in off the bench to smack one over the center field wall on Like Minds. A ubiquitous presence on the West Coast improv scene as a pianist, vocalist, and flutist, Hay works as an entertainment copyright paralegal, radio DJ/host, promoter, and soundtrack producer and supervisorwhen she's not playing with Vinny Golia, Jeff Kaiser, Adam Rudolph, or any of her many ongoing projects. Her first recording as leader collects twelve tracks recorded over ten years, boasting a stellar array of Pacific improvisers all feeling the magic.
Call to Unarm opens like a kabuki play, with Brad Dutz and Joe Berardi percussing along with Hay's free flights and violinist Ronit Kirchman. Kirchman urges a variety of sound from the violin, and both she and Hay bring fearless vocalese. Lisle Ellis' electronics and Marcos Fernandes' field recordings create a dreamscape for Hay's virtuoso flute flights and vocals on the beautiful "Liturgy of Sound. Michael Whitmore's guitar and Hay's diabolical vocal on "A Year and Two Weeks combine for a sound reminiscent of Bongwater, with Dutz on thereminesque synthesizer.
Wayne Peet's understated piano provides the incense for Hay's meditation on Boiled Cadillac. Jagged edges and wavering tones play "Crooked Hopscotch, with Michael Intriere's cello bobbing and weaving. Hay seamlessly weaves vocals and flute with Sara Schoenbeck's inventive bassoonistics. The ever-present Dutz sounds like at least two percussionists.
The title track trio includes Kurt Heyl's roaming trombone with Kirchman's violin slash and Hay's peripatetic piccolo. All three vocalize. "Wha' 'Bout features a trio of Hay with Steuart Liebig and Rich West. Liebig's bass throb shadows Hay's floating vocal, giving way to West's rolling rhythm. Liebig goes to funky town and Hay rides the alto along with him.
Now in the spotlight and off the sidelines, Emily Hay arrives to find her place among like minds.
Track Listing: Call to Unarm; Liturgy of Sound; A Year and Two Weeks; Boiled Cadillac; Crooked
Hopscotch; We Are; Like Minds; Wha' Bout; Spar; Waiting for Sara; Hibiki; Swamp Moss.
Personnel: Emily Hay: flute, alto flute, piccolo, voice; Wayne Peet: piano; Lisle Ellis: electronics,
bass; Steuart Liebig: bass; Rich West: drums; Brad Dutz: percussion, synth, melodica; Joe
Berardi, Marcos Fernandes: percussion; Michael Whitmore: guitar; Ronit Kirchman: violin,
voice; Michael Intriere: cello; Kurt Heyl: trombone, voice; Sara Schoenbeck: bassoon.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.