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Carlos Bechegas and Peter Kowald, who passed away in '02, were a good team. As thinkers and purveyors of improvised music, they created a waft of arresting ideas. Kowald, a giant among bassists, was a riveting presence who turned the bass into a loquacious voice that fed on his intuitive brilliance. Bechegas would take advantage of that, and as he tapped into his own pulsating imagination he would come up with an array of dazzling ideas.
On Open Secrets Bechegas uses three flutesthe piccolo, alto and C-sopranothe choice divined by his concept of the music. A swirling momentum gathers the first storm of ideas. Kowald bends notes and creates little whomps that rise to eddy with the swirls created by Bechegas. The impact is maintained and the momentum continued. But comes a time when the process has to be slowed, the body given limb and extension. The third part casts form to the winds as Bechegas breaks linear movement in slight dissonance and, for good measure, scats.
Kowald uses the bow on the seventh segment, a calm presence that contrasts the intensity that is Bechegas. Kowald gets to eddy the pool soon after, a boiling cauldron that does not spill over. Bechegas is first sweet and plays with a clear voice, but, drawn into the well created by Kowald cuts a deeper, more intense swath. Surprises continue to make a play, and a very nice one comes through the use of a sound processor used to distort the voice in chant and create a surreal image.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...