Under the direction of respected music journalist/musicologist Art Lange, these predominately, Chicago area musicians explore material composed by the late, British composer Cornelius Cardew. It’s an electro-acoustic sojourn featuring Jim Baker’s use of a now ancient, ARP synthesizer to coincide with strings, percussion, piano, horns, guitar, and spoken word.
Cardew was a noted composer and concert promoter, highlighting the music of folks such as Pierre Boulez, John Cage and others of historical note. Well-traveled and highly educated, Cardew also founded the "Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain. Essentially, he straddled both the avant-garde and contemporary music genres. On this release, these modern jazz and classical musicians convey the more risqué side of Cardew’s body of work.
Cardew’s music presents a level playing field of sorts. Here, the instrumentalists often render a polytonal yet improvisational framework comprised of classical like austerity and jazz-based dialogues. They toggle between sublime tenderness and curvy passages, brimming with an air of unpredictability. On the title piece "Material," the artists dissect a chamber style approach with microtonal slants, marked by vibist Carrie Biolo’s succinct notes. However, the ensemble moves about in asymmetrical fashion, sometimes underscored by cyclical movements and subtle shifts in direction. Consequently, Lange scribed the liners while citing that these Cardew works are "purposely confusing." To that end, it’s a notion that permeates throughout this recording, as the musicians are afforded widespread opportunities to explore and retool their respective imaginative powers. (Recommended.... )