11 December 2006


A special symposium on Sun Ra was organized in Hyde Park during the weekend directly following the gig at Elastic, and John flagyl no prescription online Corbett asked me to organize a group to perform for it on the morning of Sunday the 12th. Some years ago Robert Barry indicated to me that a very early version of Ra’s group was a trio that consisted of Ra, Barry, and Pat Patrick. Robert also told me that there was another edition of the band that utilized five drummers. When considering what to do for this special occasion I decided to blend these two sensibilities, and organized a group with two drummers (Mike Reed and Frank Rosaly) and two baritones (Dave Rempis and myself). The unit played a number of pieces composed by Ra during the period when he was working in Chicago. This material, in combination with the possibilities stemming from the unusual instrumentation, came across strongly and I’m happy to say that this lineup will get together again to perform in Chicago during December.

•Chicago Powerhouse Sound Records

Aside from preparing the music and rehearsing with the Vandermark 5 in order to get ready for our European tour, my main focus in November was the Chicago Powerhouse Sound recording session. This took place on Monday and Tuesday, the 13th and 14th. The band set up, got basic sounds, and rehearsed at Semaphore on Sunday evening after Malachi Richter’s memorial, and I was pretty drained by the time we finished our preparations. In the following two days of work with Bob Weston we were able to get some incredible performances of the material recorded. These were pieces that the Oslo group also documented at a session last summer, plus a new composition called Old Dictionary. Aside from the major instrumentation/lineup changes (electric guitar vs. electronics, one bass instead of two, two completely different drummers), another major difference between the way the current version of the band works compared to the one organized in Oslo, is that it has been able to begin collaging the material; something that I’ve been hoping to do since the inception of the band more than a year ago. This aspect of the music really came together while we performed in the studio, particularly on a suite of compositions that stretched for about twenty minutes over a variety of musical terrain. John Herndon, Nate McBride, and Jeff Parker worked extremely hard to realize the potential of this music and the way in which it can be reorganized. I really look forward to having the double album containing both the Oslo and Chicago sessions released by Atavistic in late spring, but I am especially excited to begin touring with John, Nate, and Jeff in Europe next May.

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