& Gone # 1 (Trikont US-0234)
Gotta say...if theres one musical form that purely
kills - cross-culturally - its the funeral march.
And this one is - oddly enough - as far as I am aware,
the only album ever solely dedicated to this magnificent
Beautifully - and gruesomely - adorned by the work of
one (unique) Mexican artist - Dead & Gone
traverses the vast expanse of this (sadly neglected) artistic
form with grace & poise.
Still...admittedly, one could argue against the - partial
- dominance of western forms herein. And yet - given the
governing concept - we should (also) understand that many
cultures do not naturally associate the slow march w/funerals...and
- therefore - also admit that much of the cross-cultural
variation herein is thus basically Western at root...albeit
this has been (immeasurably) enriched by all of those
who have subsequently embraced same over the last five
So...whilst the openers may well stem directly from Europe
- albeit a Europe richly heterophonic in its voicings
- the third (by one Albert Ayler) clearly signals that
this is not any kind of one-dimensional collection. And,
carefully...by degrees - it truly lives up to this expectation.
Because...what we get includes a (truly strange) variety
of European brass bands (some genuinely monstrous), an
African cross-cultural take re same, three (oddly third-world,
in this context) shots at the New Orleans roots of jazz,
the savagely feral intensity of Vietnamese funeral music
(shouldve been a warning to the Yanks, eh?)...as
well as the oddly plangent harmonies of Surinam &
a fistfull of the very best current avant-garde
practitioners willing to embrace said form...
Now, its (undoubtedly) true that Pans Frozen
Brass albums do cover the entire brass terrain -
albeit sans the Western stuff - much more fully, and yet,
Id have to say, that they do not do so as invitingly
as this beast...partially due to its (undoubted) Western
focus - but, also, due to the added care in programming
that is so evident herein...
Because...unlike so many albums that cover such a wide
range - this one is marvellously programmed. And so...despite
the massive cultural diversity encompassed within, it
remains beautifully listenable throughout and, therefore...I
have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this as
(perhaps) the very finest introduction yet available to
the awesome - yet easily listenable - variability of the
wider/wilder world of brass/reeds musics...that so few
listeners have (yet) embraced...
John Henry Calvinist