Roulette of the Cradle by Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House.
This is the sort of music that your more hide bound “Jazz” traditionalists tend to hate. That is, while sections do occasionally “swing”, large swaths are more influenced by some of the more expressionistic aspects of 20th Century Classical music. Skittering polyrhythms, tone clusters, etc. Personally, I enjoy that the instrumentalists and composer cast a wider net than simply Ragtime, Blues, and “Jazz” for their inspiration. Also, great song titles.
A set of 16 composed and improvised duos between Kris Davis and a variety of collaborators: Don Byron, Tim Berne, Marcus Gilmore, Billy Drummond, Angelica Sanchez, Craig Taborn, Julian Lage, and Bill Frisell. All the pieces have their own charm, but I am especially fond of the piano duos with Craig Taborn.
Frankly, this is one of those hymns where none of the individual parts seem to make melodic sense until they are heard as a whole. Everyone is jumping all over the place and the phrasing just seems odd. However, when you hear it all together it is kind of cool. At least, for a hymn.
The son of a musician in the royal band, Attwood was born in London, probably in Pimlico. At the age of nine he became a chorister in the Chapel Royal, where he received training in music from James Nares and Edmund Ayrton. In 1783 he was sent to study abroad at the expense of the Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV), who had been favourably impressed by his skill at the harpsichord. After two years in Naples, Attwood proceeded to Vienna, where he became a favourite pupil of Mozart. On his return to London in 1787 he held for a short time an appointment as one of the chamber musicians to the Prince of Wales.
In 1796 he was chosen as the organist of St Paul’s Cathedral, and in the same year he was made composer of the Chapel Royal. His court connection was further confirmed by his appointment as musical instructor to the Duchess of York, and afterwards to the Princess of Wales. For the coronation of George IV. he composed the anthemI was Glad. The king, who had neglected him for some years on account of his connection with the Princess of Wales, now restored him to favour, and in 1821 appointed him organist to his private chapel at Brighton. 
Attwood’s funeral took place at St Paul’s Cathedral on 31 March 1838. He is buried in the Cathedral, in the crypt, under the organ.
Anyone who has studied English poetry will recognize the name “John Dryden”
Dryden, John. The name of this great English poet has recently assumed a new importance to the students of hymns, from a claim made on his behalf in regard to a considerable body of translations from the Latin published after his death (1701), in a Primer of 1706. The discussion of this point will preclude us from giving more than an outline of his life.
i. Biography.—John Dryden was the son of Erasmus, the third son of Sir Erasmus Dryden, and was born at Aid winkle, All Saints, Northants, Aug. 9, 1631. He was educated under Dr. Busby at Westminster, and entered Trip. College, Cambridge, in 1650. He took his B.A. in 1654, and resided nearly 7 years, though without a fellowship. He was of Puritan blood on both his father’s and mother’s side, and his training found expression in his first great poem, Heroic Stanzas on the death of Oliver Cromwell, 1658. In 1660, however, he turned, like the bulk of England, Royalist, and in his Astraea Redux, and in A Panegyric on the Coronation (1661), celebrated the Restoration. In 1663 he married Lady Elizabeth Howard. The marriage was apparently not a happy one; and there seems to be plain proof of Dryden’s unfaithfulness. In 1670 he was made Poet Laureate and Historiographer Royal, and he retained these posts until the accession of William (1688). He had joined the Roman Church in 1685, and remained steadfast to it at the fall of James II. This change is of special significance, as will appear below, in regard to his translations from the Latin. It greatly straitened his means, and compelled him to great literary exertion in his closing years. He died May 18, 1701, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Stubborn Persistent Illusions by Do Make Say Think.
Do Make Say Think is kind of like Godspeed You Black Emperor’s slightly less gloomy younger sister. Cheery, almost, and I bet she has more friends.
Another Contellation Records release, courtesy of my wife, the wonderful Michele K-Tel, (which is kind of weird, considering, until recently, she was giving me a hard time about having too much Constellation vinyl.)
Please turn your hymnals to number 123 and join with the clarinets in, “Come Down, O Love Divine”.
First Line: Come Down, O Love Divine
Name: DOWN AMPNEY.
Meter: 6 6, 11. D.
Tempo: Moderately slow; may be sung in unison
Music: R. Vaughn Williams, 1872-1958
Text: Bianco da Siena, 1434
Tr. Richard Frederick Littledale, 1833-90
Not the first R. Vaughn Williams hymn, but a nice one. I will note, the tune seems to be named after the town he was born in.
Ralph Vaughan Williams; OM 12 October 1872 – 26 August 1958) was an English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He was also a collector of English folk music and song: this activity both influenced his editorial approach to the English Hymnal, beginning in 1904, in which he included many folk song arrangements set as hymn tunes, and also influenced several of his own original compositions.
Ralph Vaughan Williams was born on 12 October 1872 in Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, where his father, the Reverend Arthur Vaughan Williams (the surname Vaughan Williams is an unhyphenated double-barrelled name of Welsh origin), was vicar. Following his father’s death in 1875 he was taken by his mother, Margaret Susan née Wedgwood (1843–1937), the great-granddaughter of the potter Josiah Wedgwood, to live with her family at Leith Hill Place, a Wedgwood family home in the Surrey Hills. He was also related to the Darwins, Charles Darwin being a great-uncle. Though born into the privileged intellectual upper middle class, Vaughan Williams never took it for granted and worked all his life for the democratic and egalitarian ideals in which he believed.
Despite his substantial involvement in church music, and the religious subject-matter of many of his works, he was described by his second wife as “an atheist … [who] later drifted into a cheerful agnosticism.” It is noteworthy that in his opera The Pilgrim’s Progress he changed the name of the hero from John Bunyan’s Christian to Pilgrim. He also set Bunyan’s hymn Who would true valour see to music using the traditional Sussex melody “Monk’s Gate”. For many church-goers, his most familiar composition may be the hymn tune Sine nomine written for the hymn “For All the Saints” by William Walsham How. The tune he composed for the mediaeval hymn “Come Down, O Love Divine” (Discendi, Amor santo by Bianco of Siena, ca.1434) is entitled “Down Ampney” in honour of his birthplace.
’58 Sessions by Miles Davis, Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb, John Coltrane, Bill Evans.
From this remove, it’s hard to hear that this record was somewhat radical at the time of its recording. It seems to represent a bridge between the Bebop, that the young Davis came up in, and the “Modal Jazz” he would soon become famous for popularizing on “Kind of Blue”. Adderley is especially great on this, and Coltrane is solidifying the sounds he would become known for.
Please turn your hymnals to number 122 (Second Tune) and join with the clarinets in “Come, Holy Spirit”.
Number: 122 (Second Tune)
First Line: Come, Holy Spirit, God and Lord
Music: Horatio W. Parker, 1863-1919
Text: Martin Luther, 1483-1546
Tr. Edward Traill Horn III, 1909-
Before leaving New York City in 1893, Parker had completed his oratorio, Hora Novissima, set to the opening words of De contemptu mundi by Bernard of Cluny. It was widely performed in America; and also in England, in 1899 at Chester, and at the Three Choirs Festival at Worcester, the latter an honour never before paid an American composer. European critics called it one of the finest of American compositions. While he is mostly remembered for this single work, he was a prolific and versatile composer in a mostly conservative Germanic tradition, writing two operas, songs, organ and incidental music, and a copious quantity of works for chorus and orchestra. Influences in his compositions include Mendelssohn, Brahms, Wagner, as well as Debussy and Elgar in some works which he composed closer to 1900. During his lifetime he was considered to be the finest composer in the United States, a superior craftsman writing in the most advanced style.
Please turn your hymnals to number 122 (First Tune) and join with the clarinets in, “Come, Holy Spirit”.
Number: 122 (First Tune)
First Line: Come, Holy Spirit, God and Lord
Name: KOMM HEILIGE GEIST, HERRE GOTT.
Meter: L.M.D. With Alleluias.
Tempo: With dignity, in unison
Music: Pre-Reformation Melody, Erfurt Gesangbuch, 1524
Text: Martin Luther, 1483-1546
Tr. Edward Traill Horn III, 1909-
Whew. Again, you would think a relatively simple melody with relatively simple harmonization and rhythm would be easy. But it took me a number of tries to get all 4 parts executed well all eight times for this recording.
Contrary to the Quaker hymn, while it might be a gift, it isn’t easy being “simple”.
Luther, Martin, born at Eisleben, Nov. 10, 1483; entered the University of Erfurt, 1501 (B.A. 1502, M.A.. 1503); became an Augustinian monk, 1505; ordained priest, 1507; appointed Professor at the University of Wittenberg, 1508, and in 1512 D.D.; published his 95 Theses, 1517; and burnt the Papal Bull which had condemned them, 1520; attended the Diet of Worms, 1521; translated the Bible into German, 1521-34; and died at Eisleben, Feb. 18, 1546. The details of his life and of his work as a reformer are accessible to English readers in a great variety of forms. Luther had a huge influence on German hymnody.
The Art of The Improv Trio Volume 5. Gerald Cleaver, Joe Morris, and Ivo Perelman.
I enjoyed Joe Morris’ playing, but I didn’t fully appreciate his perspectives until I read an interview with him in a collection of interviews William Parker did with improvisors for RogueArt. Anyway, Morris and Perelman seem to have a real connection and their interplay on this album is fantastic to listen to.
The Art of The Improv Trio Volume 4. Gerald Cleaver, William Parker, and Ivo Perelman.
Mr Perelman must have had three espressos before this set, because he is out in front, right out of the gate. After a few failed attempts to connect with Perelman, Cleaver and Parker establish a dialogue between themselves and carry on. Perelman eventually realizes he’s not in sync with the rest of the trio, and tries to connect with what Parker and Cleaver are doing, but never finds a way in. I found myself wishing I could turn off Perelman’s Sax and just listen to the Bass and Drums as a duo.