Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Music of Sun Ra and Stockhausen: Respect Sextet @ LPR 5/24/09

This was really awesome. I'm even more in awe of Sun Ra and what he accomplished. He really influenced everyone in some way.

Everyone played some kind of percussion at some point. The bass player stuck with his big old bass, but played that as a percussion at times. There were some very interesting out there cubes that had interesting sounds. Two of the horn players jammed with them for a while, one playing it with his mouth, the other with his hand. It's hard to describe.

One guy played bass clarinet and tenor sax. Another played trombone and euphonium. Then there was the trumpet, and I think slide trumpet (I don't remember him actually playing the slide instrument in front of him, but it seemed too small to be a trombone). The piano, keyboard guy was awesome. I loved the drums and bass. The whole thing was spectacular.

Here's their bio from the LPR listing. I want to see more of them whenever I can. It was nice it was pretty full in the seated format that night.
FORMED IN 2001, The Respect Sextet is a powerhouse ensemble dedicated to performing a wide variety of improvisational musics. Relying on their explosive energy, rare telepathy, outstanding musicianship and a deep friendship, Respect pieces together free improvisations, original compositions, free jazz classics, television commercial jingles, text pieces, jazz standards, game pieces and more into "a whirling collage," shouts Exclaim! Magazine, "that ransacks and reshapes the entire jazz tradition, from New Orleans march to Misha Mengelberg, Sun Ra to Charlie Parker." The group comprises Josh Rutner (reeds, radio, toys), Eli Asher (trumpet, toys), James Hirschfeld (trombone, jamespectronics, toys), Malcolm Kirby (bass), Red Wierenga (piano, keyboard, accordion, redspectronics) and Ted Poor (drums). After releasing three limited-edition live CDs, (respect.), (respectacle.), and a mini-CD (respookt.), Respect introduced The Full Respect, a studio melange in which "all those outlandish musical gestures and experiments are distilled," as critic Chad Oliveri wrote, "into a frighteningly efficient package." The Full Respect was named #3 Jazz CD of the Year by Jazz 90.1FM, and music from the album was featured in the short film Who's Your Daddy?, an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival, 2004.

In January 2005, Respect released Respect In You, a free-wheeling live recording featuring guest bassist Matt Clohesy. The album received rave reviews from jazz magazines including Cadence, ParisTransatlantic, Exclaim! and Coda, and was listed in several as one of 2005's ten best records. "Forget about the wan, self-conscious eclecticism that is the bane of the current jazz scene," wrote critic Nate Dorward, "this is the real deal, burning hard and bright."

Their newest album, Sirius Respect, (Mode/Avant, 2009), brings together the music of Sun Ra and Karlheinz Stockhausen and views them through Respect-colored glasses. In Respect's inimitable style, pieces ranging from Stockhausen's "Tierkreis" (inspired by the Zodiac) to Sun Ra's "Saturn" are juxtaposed, layered, deconstructed and re-assembled.

The Respect Sextet, through its eclecticism, its devotion to improvisation, its predilection towards swing, and its use of toys and "little instruments," has drawn comparisons both to New Dutch Swing and the AACM.

Many dialectics are at work (and play) in Respect's music, in which the serious, heady, and intellectual mingle with the light, comic, and absurd, where compositions alternate with improvisations, and where tight ensemble work coexists with loose, empathic interplay.

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