Trumpet player Lesli Dalaba, a New York resident since 1978, was a member of
La Monte Young's
Despite keeping a low profile,
throughout the 1980s
contributed to renovate the vocabulary of the instrument with a style that made
the cerebral sound lyrical.
Her first album,
Trumpet Songs and Dances (march 1979 - Parachute, 1979),
collected solos (Tanz Pesen, Barrytown) and duets
(Two Up with Wayne Horvitz).
Relocating to Seattle in 1989, she joined
Jeff Greinke's Land
and in 1996 formed Radio Chongching.
Her recordings were rare and subdued.
Dalaba Frith Glick-Rieman Kihlstedt (Accretions, 2003)
was a collaboration with guitarist Fred Frith,
pianist Eric Glick Rieman
and violinist Carla Kihlstedt.
The 13-minute Worm Anvils features some of Dalaba's most sophisticated
counterpoint to the most fragile scaffolding as guitar, violin and piano
conspire to weave ghostly drones and dissonances.
After about eight minute, the 12-minute Shallow Weather creates enough
structure from chaos to sound like a funereal fanfare.
At the synergetic peak of their jam the four personalities are well defined, as
Dalaba's sustained tones collide against Frith's dadaistic noises,
Glick-Rieman's anemic notes and Kihlstedt's demented whistles in the
16-minute Ant Farm Morning.
Core Samples (Dossier, 1992) was the first major collection
of her own compositions,
mainly two multi-movement suites:
Core Sample (1989), with two movements performed by the 10-piece Zlatne Ustne brass band (two alto saxophones, three baritone saxophones, a tuba, three Eastern European "truba" wooden trumpets and percussion), two duets with trumpeter Herb Robertson, two duets with guitarist Elliott Sharp and vocalist Sussan Deihim;
and Violin Sentiment (1989), with Sharp, violinist Jim Katzin and a drummer.
Zahir (Endless, 2002) was a trio with Bill Horist on guitar and Randall Dunn on sax and keyboards, and the album collects material recorded in 1999.
Timelines (Tzadik, 2004), featuring
Zeena Parkins on harp,
Amy Denio on vocals,
Ikue Mori on keyboards,
Carla Kihlstedt on violin, was another suite,
but this time also a full-blown concept album dedicated to the history of the world.
The quintet of veteran female players crafts abstract instrumental interplays
that challenge the dogmas of both jazz jamming and classical chamber music.
The spirited performance reinvents music as both a cathartic experience and
a social experience.
Lung Tree (january 2004 - ReR, 2005) is a set of nine compositions/improvisations
with Eric-Glick Rieman on prepared piano, Lesli Dalaba on trumpet and
Stuart Dempster on trombone.
The music is puntillistic but not overtly abstract. Emotions surface from the
shy, sparse, subdued interchange of the trio.
The pieces are a display of slow-motion and subliminal elegance.
Most of them are sleepy elegies caught in the interplay between trumpet and trombone, such as the delicate droning and wailing of The Dock-Red Ice and Walking Ruminations,
and especially Bed Shadows into Sleep, each of them littered with metallic piano noises.
This paradigm culminates in the light trumpet and trombone drones of Morning Light Through the Smokestacks, the most abstract and otherworldly track,
although towards the end the trumpet begins to "sing" a real song.
A flickering melody is also drowned in the jelly of overtones of Waking by the Refinery.
Two of the pieces are significantly different in spirit.
Timbral Shift 10/ Coward's Line/Lobby Bar unfolds a series of
non-musical dissonant staccato notes.
The frantic piano metamorphoses of Dissolution and Redemption Animals (besides being infinitely more energetic than the rest) produces an angular melody out of what initially appears to be a mathematical game.
Talking into the Wind closes the album in a somewhat desolate and depressed tone.
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