224

Ned Rothenberg: Solo Works - The Lumina Recordings

Alexander J. Beissenhirtz By

Sign in to view read count
Ned Rothenberg: Solo Works - The Lumina Recordings Despite the landmark work of Sonny Rollins, Anthony Braxton, Evan Parker and Steve Lacy, solo saxophone performance represents an exception rather than the norm in jazz and improvisation. Because of the instrumental limitations, solo reed players need to develop complex multiphonic techniques or make use of electronic overdubbing in order to go beyond mere single-note playing.

The Lumina Recordings, recorded between 1980 and 1985, represent the entire spectrum of solo improvisation on reed instruments. The two-disc set contains music from three albums that initially appeared on LP on Rothenberg's Lumina label, now available on CD for the first time. As a bonus, there are twenty minutes of previously unissued music (disc two, tracks 9-11).

On the opening Trials of the Argo," Rothenberg develops long saxophone sequences that intermingle with previously conceived sounds through overdubbing. Throughout the piece's 22 minutes, his playing moves in and out of the background sounds, creating an uniterrupted continuous musical flow.

Evan Parker, another influential solo saxophone improviser, introduced Rothenberg to the music of the Canadian Inuit people, whose traditional vocal music inspired him to record Continuo After the Inuit. Through circular breathing and multiphonics, Rothenberg creates an array of sounds resembling several interacting instruments and human voices, yet the saxophonist does not resort to any overdubs or electronics during the piece's nearly nineteen-minute duration. The vocal quality of Rothenberg's alto saxophone and the dance-like folk rhythms create an almost meditational atmosphere, yet his improvisations are never song-like melodies—they remain modernistic throughout.

Although The Lumina Recordings may be far removed from traditional conceptions of tonality, rhythm and melody, the set's relentless pulse keeps it from sounding overly abstract or hermetic. "My relationship to pulse drew much more from the dance-based roots of jazz and R&B and from love of folk music, Rothenberg states. Despite its jazz roots, Rothenberg's highly individual approach is an amalgamation of various musical traditions and styles, ranging from folk materials to minimal music and the innovations of New York's '80s Downtown scene.

The duos with alto saxophonist John Zorn ("Kakeai ) and drummer Gerry Hemmingway ("Polysemy ) fit well into this program. Most of the mid-'80s improvisations on the second disc are shorter than the earlier pieces on disc one. It is surprising that Rothenberg calls his later improvisations "not nearly as pre-planned as in the early 80s, because his playing seems controlled and structured throughout. It is almost impossible to figure out which parts were pre-arranged or composed, and which parts were spontaneously improvised.

Though they were recorded more than twenty years ago, these recordings sound fresh and innovative, confirming Ned Rothenberg's importance as an influential voice among contemporary improvisers. The 36-page booklet features Rothenberg's comments on his music, plus numerous photos and pictures.

Track Listing: Trials of the Argo; Continuo After the Inuit; Portal; Polysemy; Caeneus; Strata; Trespass; Caenis; Slapstick; Filigree; Kakeai; Taps; Wrestling with Water; Funhouse #1; Funhouse #2.

Personnel: Ned Rothenberg: alto saxophone, bass clarinet, processed bass clarinet, soprano double ocarina, woodwinds, trap set, homemade instruments; David Weinstein: live digital signal processing; John Zorn: alto saxophone; Gerry Hemingway: steel drum.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Tzadik | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Ha Noi Duo CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Like, Strange CD/LP/Track Review Like, Strange
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Coalesce CD/LP/Track Review Coalesce
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Il sistema periodico CD/LP/Track Review Il sistema periodico
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Code Noir CD/LP/Track Review Code Noir
by James Nadal
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Welcome to Swingsville! CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest" CD/LP/Track Review Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 27, 2016
Read "Jazz Marathon 2" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Marathon 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 20, 2017
Read "Saturday Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Saturday Songs
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 19, 2016
Read "It's Time" CD/LP/Track Review It's Time
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "Transparent Water" CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 29, 2016
Read "Groovin' Hard: Live At The Penthouse 1964-1968" CD/LP/Track Review Groovin' Hard: Live At The Penthouse 1964-1968
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 18, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!