CD MVP LSD: The Graphic Scores of Lowell Skinner Davidson (CD 4646628),
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MVP LSD: The Graphic Scores of Lowell Skinner Davidson
Joe Morris (Guitar)
1. Blue Sky and Blotches
3. Separate Blue X's
4. Gold Drop #2
5. Orange Cards
6. Index Card #3
7. Index Card #1
8. Index Card #2
9. Double Sheet
10. Gold Triptych
11. Gold Drop #1
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 10
Joe Morris (Guitar): Joe Morris (guitar); John Voigt (bass instrument); Tom Plsek.
Personnel: Joe Morris Orchestra (guitar); Tom Plesk, Tom Plsek (trombone); John Voight (bass instrument).
Liner Note Authors: John Voigt; Joe Morris Orchestra.
First things first: this is not jazz. Pianist/composer Lowell Davidson recorded one CD during his lifetime, on the legendary New York label ESP-Disk, and he worked with Ornette Coleman in the '60s, but he eventually abandoned even the most avant-garde precincts of jazz, developing a highly individual musical idiom with the help of some likeminded (and open-minded) collaborators in his Boston home. Three of those latter-day kindred spirits -- guitarist Joe Morris, bassist John Voigt, and trombonist Tom Plsek -- delve into the stacks of previously unrecorded Davidson compositions, many of which employ abstract graphic notation rather than traditional notes on staves, on this CD. The results are stark, non-traditionally melodic, yet at times utterly captivating. Voigt never creates a 4/4, swinging groove, but his plucking does suggest form rather than mere exploration of the instrument's possibilities as a sound source. Morris adopts several modes of attack, from Derek Bailey-esque scrapes and pings to an almost Django Reinhardt-like fast picking style, and on certain tracks he seems to be bowing the strings. Plsek may be the player who goes farthest out, sputtering and dribbling smeared notes from the bell of his horn like a cross between Albert Mangelsdorff and trumpeter Bill Dixon. The absence of a rhythm instrument gives this music a chamber-ish feel, so it could potentially appeal just as much to fans of Elliott Carter as to longtime Morris (or Jimmy Giuffre) listeners. Never mind the historical significance of Davidson and these scores, which would have likely remained lost had it not been for his former student/collaborators' wish to preserve his legacy (Riti is Morris' label); MVP LSD comes highly, highly recommended on grounds of pure beauty. ~ Phil Freeman
Signal To Noise (magazine) (p.50) - "[T]he result is neither freely improvised nor through-composed, but some ideal marriage of the two approaches. `Particles' is a glittering sound field..."
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