Chadbourne, Eugene / Henry Kaiser
Wind Crystals: Guitar Duets By Wadada Leo Smith
Long-time collaborators, guitarists Henry Kaiser and Eugene Chadbourne perform the compositions of trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, starting with their recording from 1977 of his "Wind Crystals", then improvising over 5 other Smith compositions, ending the album with an updated, 2017 version of "Wind Crystals"; an excellent refresh and retrospective from two incredible improvisers.
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Reordered on 2/23/2021
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Label: Relative Pitch
Catalog ID: RPR 1083
Squidco Product Code: 27418
Track 1 recorded in 1977, track s2-7 recorded at Megasonic, in Oakland, California, in June, 2017, by Jeremy Goody.
Eugene Chadbourne-acoustic guitar, banjo
Henry Kaiser-acoustic guitar
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• Show Bio for Eugene Chadbourne
"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)
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• Show Bio for Henry Kaiser
"Henry Kaiser (born September 19, 1952) is an American guitarist and composer, known as an idiosyncratic soloist, a sideman, an ethnomusicologist, and a film score composer. Recording and performing prolifically in many styles of music, Kaiser is a fixture on the San Francisco Bay Area music scene. He is considered a member of the "second generation" of American free improvisers. He is married to Canadian artist Brandy Gale.
In 1977, Kaiser founded Metalanguage Records with Larry Ochs (Rova Saxophone Quartet) and Greg Goodman. In 1979 he recorded With Friends Like These with Fred Frith, a collaboration that lasted for over 20 years. In 1983 they recorded Who Needs Enemies, and in 1987 the compilation album With Enemies Like These, Who Needs Friends? They joined with fellow experimental musicians John French, and English folk-rocker Richard Thompson to form French Frith Kaiser Thompson for two eclectic albums, Live, Love, Larf & Loaf (1987) and Invisible Means (1990). In 1999 Frith and Kaiser released Friends and Enemies, a compilation of their two Metalanguage albums along with additional material from 1984 and 1999.
In 1991, Kaiser went to Madagascar with guitarist David Lindley. They recorded roots music with Malagasy musicians and discovered music that, he says, "changed us radically and permanently". Three volumes of this music were released by Shanachie under the title A World Out of Time. In 1994 he made a similar trip to Norway, again with Lindley, recording music that was released as Sweet Sunny North (2 volumes, 1994 and 1996).
Since 1998, Kaiser has been collaborating with trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith in the "Yo Miles!" project, releasing a series of tributes to Miles Davis's 1970s electric music. This shifting aggregation has included musicians from the worlds of rock (guitarists Nels Cline, Mike Keneally and Chris Muir, drummer Steve Smith), jazz (saxophonists Greg Osby and John Tchicai), avant-garde (keyboardist John Medeski, guitarist Elliott Sharp), and Indian classical music (tabla player Zakir Hussain).
Kaiser has appeared on more than 250 albums and scored dozens of TV shows and films, including Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World (2007). He was given a Grammy Award for his work on the Beautiful Dreamer tribute to Stephen Foster.
In 2001, Kaiser spent two and a half months in Antarctica on a National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Program grant. He has subsequently returned for nine more visits to work as a research diver. His underwater camera work was featured in two Herzog films, The Wild Blue Yonder (2005) and Encounters at the End of the World (2007), which he also produced, and for which he and Lindley composed the score. Kaiser served as music producer for Herzog's Grizzly Man (2005). He was nominated for an Academy Award for his work as a producer on Encounters at the End of the World."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Kaiser_(musician))
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1. Wind Crystals (1977) 15:15
2. TS-5 (afmie) 3:28
3. Shabazz 5:38
4. Blue Lightning: Blue 11:46
5. Blue Casa 8:20
6. Pacifica 14:21
7. Wind Crystals (2017) 14:35
sample the album:
"Eugene and Henry have been playing together of nearly 43 years. Back in 1977 they recorded a guitar duet that Wadada Leo Smith had presented to them: WIND CRYSTALS. This piece was released on Henry's first album on Eugene's Parachute label: ICE DEATH. On the 40 year anniversary of the original Wind Crystals, Henry and Eugene recorded an entire album of guitar duets composed by Wadada, including a re-recording of Wind Crystals. This album contains pieces from several different phases of Wadada's work from the past 40 years. Besides celebrating their longtime music friendship, the project also celebrates both guitarist's long time friendship with Wadada. All of the duets here are acoustic and feature the focused attention to tiny sounds that Eugene pioneered in the 70's. From a swinging jazz track to abstract and complex organizational principles that Wadada envisions int he preset moment, a full range of colors and expressions results from the duo's creative expansion of Wadada's scores."
"Wadada Leo Smith composed 'Wind Crystals' as a guitar duet piece originally for Henry Kaiser's debut LP, "Ice Death". It was 1978, I was 24 years old and had already absorbed a great deal of Smith's music. I had presented him twice at the Parachute Center for Performing Arts in Calgary, Alberta, in each case for multiple nights: two nights as a soloist, followed by three nights with his New Dalta Ahkri ensemble the following year. I had listened to all his available recordings and studied his self-published book on musical theory.
I spent several weeks staying with Smith on the way to becoming settled on the east coast that year. We practiced together daily, performed a duet concert that almost no one in New Haven attended and played a set for his children's nursery school that no one listened to. Meanwhile I paid devout attention to everything Smith told me, from benign comments such as "Water--think about it" to stingers on my musical direction: "Too aggressive."
I settled into my New York City digs despite Smith's warnings about the scene and we continued our relationship any way I could make that happen. I helped him collect the door when he played solo at The Brook loft and listened to another four sets. I played with New Dalta Ahkri at Warren Smith's loft.
Eventually Smith delivered unto me a solo piece,"Kuboxe" that is magnificent, requiring at least 50 years of study. I was regularly practicing out of a new booklet he'd published devoted to his rhythm units, a method of instilling silence which of course was to me a great thing about his playing, he used silence to mean millions of things, he could even make it "too aggressive."
He has been busy composing music his whole life--that's the impression I get because that's what he is doing or that is what it is about whenever I get in touch with him, however many years might have elapsed.
In my personal approach to interpreting compositions, there are those who require much more than just tapping a foot and sight reading. To name three examples of this: Wadada Leo Smith, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane. In each case there is a unique mood, vibe, essence, spirituality.
The printed page of music can't motivate me to be a better person, to make the most of whatever creative attributes I have been gifted with, to not squander my life being a jerk-off. Coltrane could. Titles such as "Moose the Mooche" and "Dewey Square" along with the printed notes, mean so much more if one has learned about Parker's life, as will his filigrees of improvisation, running into eternity (at least that is my impression as I wear out my fourth Omnibook), all of if a testament to beauty's eventual victory over squalor. Nobody has to agree with this interpretation, but it is why I play Parker's music the way I do.
Kaiser's inclusion of "Wind Crystals" in an album largely devoted to free improvisation was to me a sign of his confidence in what Smith was doing. Revisiting the piece so many years later was a fascinating experience, part of a day in which I was introduced to newer pieces by Smith as well. Without a qualm I could step right back into the way I felt his music should sound on the guitar, the very coordination of my hands seemingly manipulated by feelings the compositions unleashed: seascapes, sunlight, sand, the color blue."-Eugene Chadbourne
West Coast/Pacific US Jazz
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