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Dead & Gone # 1 (Trikont US-0234)


Gotta say...if there’s one musical form that purely kills - cross-culturally - it’s the funeral march. And this one is - oddly enough - as far as I am aware, the only album ever solely dedicated to this magnificent art...

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 hundred years...

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 (should’ve 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, it’s (undoubtedly) true that Pan’s “Frozen Brass” albums do cover the entire brass terrain - albeit sans the Western stuff - much more fully, and yet, I’d 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