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Zorn / Chadbourrne / Bradfield / Baker / Hutton

John Zorn's OIympiad - Vol. 2 Fencing 1978

Zorn / Chadbourrne / Bradfield / Baker / Hutton: John Zorn's OIympiad - Vol. 2 Fencing 1978 (Tzadik)

Two exceptional live performances of John Zorn's interactive "Fencing" concept leading free improv into unusual directions, from the early Downtown NY scene in 1978, first at Zorn's own loft in the trio of guitarists Eugene Chadbourne, Duck Baker and Randy Hutton; then at Bard College, in Kingston, NY with Zorn on multiple reeds, Chadbourne on guitar and Polly Bradfield on violin.
 

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product information:


UPC: 702397839026

Label: Tzadik
Catalog ID: CD-TZA-8390
Squidco Product Code: 32049

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2022
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack - 3 panel
Track 1 recorded at John Zorn's artist loft The Theatre of Musical Optics.

Track 2 recorded at Bard College, in Kingston, New York, on August 5th, 1978.


Personnel:

John Zorn-alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet

Polly Bradfield-violin

Eugene Chadbourne-guitar

Duck Baker-guitar

Randy Hutton-guitar

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Artist Biographies:

"John Zorn (born September 2, 1953) is an American composer, arranger, producer, saxophonist, and multi-instrumentalist with hundreds of album credits as performer, composer, and producer across a variety of genres including jazz, rock, hardcore, classical, surf, metal, klezmer, soundtrack, ambient, and improvised music. He incorporates diverse styles in his compositions which he identifies as avant-garde or experimental. Zorn was described by Down Beat as "one of our most important composers".

Zorn established himself within the New York City downtown music movement in the mid-1970s performing with musicians across the sonic spectrum and developing experimental methods of composing new music. After releasing albums on several independent US and European labels, Zorn signed with Elektra Nonesuch and received wide acclaim with the release of The Big Gundown, an album reworking the compositions of Ennio Morricone. He attracted further attention worldwide with the release of Spillane in 1987, and Naked City in 1989. After spending almost a decade travelling between Japan and the US he made New York his permanent base and established his own record label, Tzadik, in the mid-1990s.

Tzadik enabled Zorn to maintain independence from the mainstream music industry and ensured the continued availability of his growing catalog of recordings, allowing him to prolifically record and release new material, issuing several new albums each year, as well as promoting the work of many other musicians. Zorn has led the hardcore bands Naked City and Painkiller, the klezmer/free jazz-influenced quartet Masada, composed over 600 pieces as part of the Masada Songbooks that have been performed by an array of groups, composed concert music for classical ensembles and orchestras, and produced music for opera, sound installations, film and documentary. Zorn has undertaken many tours of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, often performing at festivals with many other musicians and ensembles that perform his diverse output.

Zorn's compositions cross many genres and he has stated "All the various styles are organically connected to one another. I'm an additive person-the entire storehouse of my knowledge informs everything I do. People are so obsessed with the surface that they can't see the connections, but they are there." For Zorn "Composing is more than just imagining music-it's knowing how to communicate it to musicians. And you don't give an improviser music that's completely written out, or ask a classical musician to improvise. I'm interested in speaking to musicians in their own languages, on their own terms, and in bringing out the best in what they do. To challenge them and excite them." "

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Zorn)
9/26/2022

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Polly Bradfield is an American violinist from the New York City free improvisation scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Her closest musical associates were Eugene Chadbourne and John Zorn. She also played on records by William Parker and Frank Lowe. Her music career ended when she moved to California sometime in the 1980s. Her last appearance on record was on Zorn's The Big Gundown in 1986.

"I began playing music when I was 8 or 9. First piano, then violin. I preferred to play classical literature, but I started improvising by playing piano in a high school stage band. I studied jazz in college after hearing Cecil Taylor I started developing a style of improvisation on the piano, playing with many different musicians and performing occasionally. When I met Eugene Chadbourne and John Zorn on moving to New York, I quit playing the piano and concentrated on the violin. My playing really changed and so did my attitudes about music and improvising..." (from Bradfield's own liner notes on the back of her Solo Violin Improvisations LP)

In the same liner notes, she lists her musical inspirations: Paganini, Bartók, Ives, Ligeti, Django Reinhardt, Stuff Smith, Eddie South, Joe Venuti, The Sacred Guitar and Violin music of the Modern Aztecs, Jean Carignan, Swedish fiddle music, and Cajun string bands. (She also thanks Zorn and Chadbourne for their effect on her music.)

In 1979 she released an LP on Chadbourne's Parachute label called Solo Violin Improvisations. The cover shows a photo of a young girl, presumably Bradfield as a child, sawing a branch off a tree, a pun on violin playing described as "sawing". The album contains more silence than sawing, though; her scrapes, scratches, plunks, and occasional notes on the violin are often separated by long stretches of it. Her radically still, non-discursive, Cageian style on this little known LP foreshadows later trends in free improvisation.

Eugene Chadbourne describes the album as "a controlled masterwork of severely intense playing" .

In her liner notes, Bradfield writes "The music on this record is all acoustic violin. Usually I use an amplifier when performing, but I wanted my first solo recording to be acoustic. I felt it was a small way to pay homage to the instrument's long and diverse history which began long before electricity was discovered." "

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polly_Bradfield)
9/26/2022

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"A seemingly endless -- and endlessly eclectic -- series of releases made the innovative guitarist Eugene Chadbourne one of the underground community's most well-known and well-regarded eccentrics. Born January 4, 1954 in Mount Vernon, NY, Chadbourne was raised in Boulder, CO, by his mother, a refugee of the Nazi death camps. At the age of 11, the Beatles inspired him to learn guitar; later exposure to Jimi Hendrix prompted him to begin experimenting with distortion pedals and fuzzboxes. Ultimately, however, he became dissatisfied with the conventions of rock and pop, and traded in his electric guitar for an acoustic one, on which he began to learn to play bottleneck blues.

Perhaps Chadbourne's most significant formative discovery was jazz; initially drawn to John Coltrane and Roland Kirk, he later became an acolyte of the avant excursions of Derek Bailey and Anthony Braxton. Despite the huge influence music exerted over his life, however, Chadbourne first studied to become a journalist, but his career was derailed when he fled to Canada rather than fight in Vietnam; only President Jimmy Carter's declaration of amnesty for conscientious objectors allowed the vociferously left-wing Chadbourne to return to the U.S. in 1976, at which time he plunged headlong into the New York downtown music scene. After releasing his 1976 debut, Solo Acoustic Guitar, he began collaborating on purely improvisational music with the visionary saxophonist John Zorn and the acclaimed guitarist Henry Kaiser.

Quickly, Chadbourne carved out a singular style, comprised of equal parts protest music, free improvisation, and avant-garde jazz, topped off with his absurd, squeaky vocals. A complete list of Chadbourne's countless subsequent collaborations and genre workouts is far too lengthy and detailed to exhaustively document, although in the early '80s he garnered some of his first significant attention as the frontman of Shockabilly, a demented rockabilly revisionist outfit which also featured the well-known producer Kramer. Following the group's breakup, Chadbourne turned to his own idiosyncratic brand of country and folk, accurately dubbed LSD C&W on a 1987 release, the same year he joined the members of Camper Van Beethoven for a one-off covers project. In addition, he recorded with artists ranging from Fred Frith and Elliott Sharp to Evan Johns and Jimmy Carl Black, the original drummer in the Mothers of Invention; in between, he continued exploring unique styles inspired by music from the four corners of the globe, all the while issuing a seemingly innumerable string of records, most of them on his own Parachute label."

-All Music (http://www.allmusic.com/artist/eugene-chadbourne-mn0000172925/biography)
9/26/2022

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Duck Baker is one of the most highly regarded fingerstyle guitarists of his generation. He is unique among jazz guitarists in that his repertoire spans the entire history of the music from ragtime through swing to modern masters like Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols to free improvisation. Baker's devotion to American music also encompasses more traditional forms like blues, gospel, and Appalachian music and its Scots-Irish ancestry. This catholicism has been likened to Europeans who perform the classical repertoire from renaissance through to modern music.

Duck was born Richard R. Baker IV in 1949 and grew up in Richmond, Virginia. He passed his teenage years playing in rock and blues bands before becoming interested in acoustic blues. Local ragtime pianist Buck Evans was a major influence on Baker's evolution. By the time he moved to San Francisco in the early seventies, he was performing the wide range of material heard on his first record for the Kicking Mule label, "There's Something for Everyone in America". In addition to developing his solo style, Baker joined a bluegrass band and immersed himself in the local swing jazz scene, forming a duo with guitarist Thom Keats and performing with such Bay Area luminaries as Burt Bales and Robin Hodes. Baker remains active in this music, leading a trio with guitarist Bob Wilson and fiddler Tony Marcus.

In the late seventies, Baker recorded four more records for Kicking Mule, including two devoted to jazz and the first solo guitar record of Irish and Scottish music. He also began touring as a soloist, traveling throughout North America, Western Europe, and Australia. He eventually moved to Europe where he was based for nine years before returning to San Francisco in 1987. It was also in the late seventies that Baker became associated with the free music scene, performing with musicians like Eugene Chadbourne and John Zorn in New York and Bruce Ackley and Henry Kaiser in San Francisco. His associations in the 90's included the highly regarded Irish fiddler, Kieran Fahy, and the great traditional singer, Molly Andrews. As of 2002 he is involved in several other duos: with trombone master Roswell Rudd, bassist Mark Dresser, and guitarists Jamie Findlay, Woody Mann and Ken Emerson. He also leads a trio which includes violinist Carla Kihlstedt and clarinetist Ben Goldberg.

Baker's solo recordings since 1980 have for the most part focused on his own compositions, which reflect the influence of the great jazz pianist/composers like Monk, Nichols, Randy Weston, etc. His pieces have been recorded by various other guitarists, as well as Irish and American traditionalists and modern jazzmen.His most ambitious record, "Spinning Song", which is devoted to the music of Herbie Nichols, got rave reviews in Jazz Times, Cadence, Coda, and the New York Times, and helped establish Baker as an important voice in the world of fingerstyle jazz guitar. Various critics named "Spinning Song" among the best jazz records of 1997 in Cadence and Coda magazines, and it placed high on the Cadence reader's poll of that year. Acoustic Guitar magazine dubbed it "one of the best guitar records ever recorded - by anybody." "

-Duck Baker Website (https://duckbaker.com/biography/)
9/26/2022

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Randy Hutton is a Calgary guitarist and writer, involved with some of the early improvisations of Eugene Chadbourne and John Zorn. He was part of The Guitar Trio In Calgary 1977 with Chadbourne and Duck Baker, released on the Emanem label, which includes material released on the Parachute label. He also released a duo record with Peter Moller, Ringside Maisie on the Onari label. He moved to NYC in the 80s and can be heard in John Zorn's Cobra - "Live at the Knitting Factory" performing on synthesizer. His work is also heard on several Chadula label releases.

-Squidco 9/26/2022

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:


1. Fencing (Live At The Theatre Of Musical Optics) 29:52

2. Fencing (Live At Bard) 28:53
sample the album:








descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Two extremely rare live recordings of the classic Zorn composition "Fencing" from the early days of the Downtown scene. Featuring two realizations of the piece - one recorded at Zorn's artist loft The Theatre of Musical Optics with Eugene Chadbourne, Duck Baker, and Randy Hutton on guitars - and the other at Bard College with Chadbourne, Polly Bradfield, and John Zorn, a legendary concert that took place with George Lewis, Anthony Braxton, and Roscoe Mitchell in the audience.

The music is astonishing - strange sounds, odd juxtapositions, stark silences, sudden explosions, all held together by a bizarre overarching compositional logic. Featuring a 16-page booklet replete with photos, scores, and extensive notes and remembrances by Zorn, Chadbourne, Baker, and George Lewis, this is a collector's dream. Vexing and powerful sounds from the 1978 New York Underground!"-Tzadik

Related Categories of Interest:


Tzadik
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Zorn. John
Guitarists, &c.
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