Dan Clucas | Mark Weaver | Dave Wayne | Hotend | Do Tell play the music of Julius Hemphill | Amirani Records

Julius Hemphill’s music is about digging under the facts, pulling out the stops, revealing the insides, telling the truth. His groove-oriented pieces (Steppin’, The Hard Blues, Otis Groove) seem to be a function of his having internalized the essence of the blues, so that the feeling, the ache of that music, is imbedded in the soul of these songs. Contrarily, his more compositional side is less about rhythm and more about sound, timbre, and tone. But always, his compositions value improvisation; even his most thoroughly notated works call for the musicians to collectively improvise within the parameters of that piece and there again lies the spirit of the blues in Julius Hemphill’s music, which is perhaps the most revealing truth of all. Continue reading

Brassum | Dan Clucas | Michael Vlatkovich | Mark Weaver | Harris Eisenstadt | Live | pfmentum

Here we have jazzy improvisation at top level but with strong emphasis on some melodic lines. And that is what distinguishes Brassum from many others improvisers or spontaneous musicians. Here we have exploration of lines done with trombones and tubas and cornets with a certain jazz feeling but keeping main ideas through all the compositions. This is exploration of new sounds with a lot of coherence and developing new ideas but always keeping the main structures in mind that is what gives a pure jazz feeling. — musicextreme Oct 2006 Continue reading

Mark Weaver’s Brassum | Warning Lights | Plutonium Records

Given its name which reflects its brass-heavy instrumentation, you’d expect Mark Weaver’s Brassum to be a celebration of the brass band tradition with evocations of marching bands… But with leader and tubaist Mark Weaver taking on the role of the string bass, this band really is a free Bop ensemble with catchy, intriguing tunes setting up edgy blowing. Little Weaver plays wouldn’t fall easily under the fingers of an adept bassist. That’s not to say that his big brass bass doesn’t add a dominant color to the date. The tuba’s expansive sound envelops the ensemble with a golden fog. Even when vamping, Weaver’s lines (and this applies as well to the undisputed master of this school of tuba, Bob Stewart) resonate with the other horns in the way a string bass does not. Weaver and Eisenstadt prove to be a playful rhythm section. Clucas works well within the context of Weaver’s compositions. Vlatkovich further lifts the session with his robust, ripping trombone lines. …this music, through crafty writing and daring playing, achieves a sound larger than you’d assume from the seemingly meager complement of instruments. —David Dupont (Cadence magazine vol.30, No.6, June 2004, p.46-47) Continue reading