Henry Kuntz | Henry Kaiser | Charles K. Noyes | Greg Goodman | Cross-Eyed Priest

Humming Bird 1001

Henry Kuntz: Tenor Saxophone (All Tracks), Henry Kaiser: Electric Guitar (Side Two, 1), Charles K. Noyes: Drums and Percussion (Side Two, 1), Greg Goodman: Piano, Miscellaneous Instruments (Side Two, 2)

SIDE ONE – 1. Cross-Eyed Priest (13:25) 2. Tail of the Plumed Serpant (8:47) SIDE TWO – 1. ***Constant Carnival* (7:00) 2. Space:::::::::::Between Orange…  (11:25)


In January of this year, I took a trip to Mexico and visited some of the ancient Mayan ruins. My experience of being in these places helped to solidify some of my thinking about ‘art’ and music, and consequently has greatly affected my attitude towards playing the saxophone. The album’s title is reflective of that experience and was suggested by a relief above a doorway of the palace at Palenque, Chiapis. To the Mayans, cross eyes were considered a mark of great beauty.


These pieces have primarily to do with rhythmic and structural (which is another way of saying ‘orchestral’) design, setting rhythmic ideas against each other in variously entertwined harmonic, textural, timbral, temporal, and dynamic constructs, while at the same time utilizing length of phrase and of space as connective (and suggestive) points of propulsion and as an organic / procedural means of shaping the formal contours. I say ‘procedural’ because these are in the first instance improvisations, which means they are mainly the sum of their own process, always becoming what they are rather than moving within or toward any self-assured final product. The product simply is at every moment, and it is only really later, as now, that it can be said what actually happened when the playing took place – which playing was at its inception the turning of emotional/intuitive impulses into sound and having really nothing at all to do with any of these words. But the words are here for those to whom it might make some difference in hearing the music, and because it gives me the opportunity to define for myself what it is, on a strictly musical basis, I see these improvisations as being about. This is not, however, for me the most meaningful level of response to the music. It is simply a key, an ‘understanding’, to facilitate a response at another level, which is the level of ritual, of magic, or of some place even beyond those words which at best themselves only point in still some other (other) direction. The sound, as always, is you.

I’d especially like to thank Henry Kaiser and Greg Goodman without whose help, encouragement, and technical assistance this record may not have been possible; also John Gruntfest for his encouragement and inspiration; and Henry, Greg, and Charlie Noyes for their splendid contributions to the music.

The two solo pieces and the duo with Greg Goodman were recorded in performance on Sunday evening May 6, I979 at Woody Woodman’s Finger Palace in Berkeley, California (Engineer: Henry Kaiser). The trio improvisation was recorded on Tuesday evening June 12, 1979 at Mobius Sound in San Francisco, California (Engineer: Oliver Di Cicca). All pieces are complete and unedited free improvisations.

Record production by Henry Kaiser, Henry Kuntz, and Woody Woodman. Cover art work and album design by Henry Kuntz with the assistance of Grier Thornburg. Photo of Henry Kuntz by Henry Kuntz. Notes by Henry Kuntz.


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