Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

224

Ned Rothenberg: Solo Works - The Lumina Recordings

Alexander J. Beissenhirtz By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: Solo Works - The Lumina Recordings | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Tzadik


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Sounding Tears CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Kill The Boy CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "Affirmative" CD/LP/Track Review Affirmative
by Jim Olin
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Energy - Saul Losada" CD/LP/Track Review Energy - Saul Losada
by Paul Naser
Published: March 15, 2017
Read "Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk" CD/LP/Track Review Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk
by John Sharpe
Published: November 4, 2017
Read "Alto Manhattan" CD/LP/Track Review Alto Manhattan
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "Nattens Skogar – version for four players" CD/LP/Track Review Nattens Skogar – version for four players
by John Eyles
Published: December 1, 2017
Read "Train Of Thought" CD/LP/Track Review Train Of Thought
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 8, 2017

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!