William Hooker | Earth’s Orbit | No Business Records

Bliss(east) session: * William Hooker – drums * Darius Jones – alto sax * Adam Lane – bass

Tracklist: Bliss(east): Side A: * 1. Chronofiles * 2. Tensegrity * 3. Tetrahedron Side B: * 4. Streamlined Unit * 5. 4d To Dymaxion

Bliss(west) session: * William Hooker – drums * Aaron Bennett – tenor sax * Weasel Walter – guitar * Damon Smith – bass

Tracklist: Bliss(west): Side C: * 6. Tensegrity(4d) Part 1 Side D: * 7. Tensegrity(4d) Part 2

All compositions composed by William Hooker for William Hooker Music (BMI) * Bliss(east) recorded 25th March, 2007 at The Stone, New York City by Robert O’Haire * Bliss(west) recorded 20th July, 2009 at The Hemlock Tavern, San Francisco, California by W.Walter * mastered by Paul Zinman, SoundByte Productions * design by Oskaras Anosovas * Produced by William Hooker * executive producer – Danas Mikailionis * co-producer – Valerij Anosov. Limited edition of 500 records.

William Hooker is an artistic whole, a vast circle of vision and execution. A body of uninterrupted work beginning in the mid-seventies defines him as one of the most important composers and players in jazz. As bandleader, Hooker has fielded ensembles in an incredibly diverse array of configurations. Each collaboration has brought a serious investigation of his compositional agenda and the science of the modern drum kit.

In this limited edition double vinyl he is joined by two groups of great contemporary jazz musicians in two sessions, which are entitled Bliss(east) and Bliss(west), marking their performances on East and West Coasts in 2007 and 2009.

William Hooker | Earth's Orbit | no business records


Double LP version
(incl. shipment cost world-wide)

€ 38.00
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4 thoughts on “William Hooker | Earth’s Orbit | No Business Records

  1. Difficile, sans doute, de devoir faire la part des choses (obligées et essentielles) lorsqu’on est un musicien de la renommée de William Hooker. Earth’s Orbit démontre de quoi il retourne : en deux formations différentes, le batteur convainc plus ou moins.

    Heureusement, l’ensemble tient sur la longueur de deux disques. Entendre d’abord l’inspiration toujours féroce animer un trio dans lequel brillent aussi Darius Jones et Adam Lane : la batterie et le saxophone jouent là des coudes, la pratique du free jazz – même réchauffée – prend un coup supplémentaire sous de nouvelles vociférations, de nouvelles plaintes d’un ténor intense porté haut et sans cesse différemment par la batterie. Mais il n’est pas toujours donné de trouver des partenaires de la taille de Jones et Lane – et encore moins de ceux de jadis (l’époque des lofts new yorkais était glorieuse et les attentes de l’amateur d’audaces sonores sans doute moins soumises aux audaces superficielles).

    Alors, on fait avec le saxophoniste Aaron Bennet (ténor pourtant intéressant), le guitariste Weasel Walter (entendu sur Grob auprès de Jim O’Rourke) et le contrebassiste Damon Smith : le premier et le troisième étant incapables de faire entendre raison au second, qui gangrène l’espace de ses propositions simples – son habitude aidant, Hooker aurait peut-être dû choisir de verser avec les mêmes dans un rock perturbé, mais voilà… Le problème étant sans doute, une autre fois, que d’anciennes figures du free se laissent approcher par de plus jeunes sans que ceux-là soient capables du moindre projet original, voire de la moindre idée neuve. Toujours, la faute reviendra aux anciens : s’ils se laissent encore avoir pour accepter toutes propositions, voici leur discographie augmentée de double-disques délectables à moitié.

  2. If East Coast is hot and West Coast cool in classic jazz parlance, then composer and drummer William Hooker subverts that tenet with East hot, West hotter in this limited edition, double vinyl set featuring separate bands captured live on each coast. Hooker has a fascination for incorporating other art forms into his performance, be it his own poetry or films, often transcending his free jazz roots to encompass rock and noise sensibilities in the process. But on these sides he focuses firmly on the core business, albeit with some nods to noise, for one of his strongest releases in recent years.

    Hooker delineates his associates into Bliss (East) and Bliss (West), with the former a trio and the latter a quartet. Both are given full latitude to interpret the drummer’s thematic material in almost unbroken consort, and each makes the most of the opportunity for some spirited blowing. Hooker has chosen his colleagues well. Completing the trio, alto saxophonist Darius Jones is one of the rising stars of the downtown scene, following his celebrated debut Man’ish Boy (Aum Fidelity, 2009), while bassist Adam Lane has a string of compelling releases to his name, having studied and worked with reed players Anthony Braxton and John Tchicai and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith. Though the quartet may not be as illustrious it makes up for it in power, sporting another Smith alumni in tenor saxophonist Aaron Bennett, along with renowned, highly combustible punk jazz drummer, but here guitarist, Weasel Walter, and Texas bound former Bay Area bassist Damon Smith.

    Hooker leads from the front on both discs, molding and shaping the flow with his finely honed, almost orchestral sense of sound placement, density and dynamics imparting form and purpose to even the freest moments. Hooker’s compositional frameworks are slight, acting as signposts rather than routemaps, signaling direction but not the precise means to reach the destination. As a consequence frequent daredevil diversions are unpredictable and rewarding.

    Bliss (East), recorded at The Stone in 2007 gets underway with Hooker’s repeated drum cadences and tumbling bass figures presaging a slow burning saxophone exposition from Jones, pregnant with promise, but oozing menace. Jones shows his mettle as an improviser, constructing from scant foundation a towering edifice of a solo on the first side, repeating phrases to ramp up the tension before culminating in a querulous tirade of anguished rasping shrieks. Throughout he is ably abetted by Lane’s nimble basswork, so deep-toned it is almost subliminal, effecting both commentary and spur simultaneously. Only three pieces are tracked though five are listed, reflecting the smooth transitions as Hooker moves the trio through a variety of moods, new drum motifs cueing switches from free-form to free-bop, via rubato soulsearching. Jones navigates these reaches wonderfully, careening between riff and raucous, in a paradoxically measured yet impassioned display, always conscious of the longer form Hooker demarcates.

    With Bliss (West), recorded at San Francisco’s Hemlock Tavern in 2009, Hooker once again marshals his resources from behind his kit, drawing raw and powerful performances from his sidemen, with vocal exhortations and encouragement supplementing his instrumental orientation. After scene setting tympanic percussion, stirrings of Walter’s guitar skronk and Smith’s hyper kinetic arco bowing conjure an atmosphere of foreboding, made good by feral foghorn blasts of paint stripping saxophone. Although Bennett lacks the facility of Jones, he makes up for it in abrasive focus, building towards peaks of dissonance, before pulling back for another attempt, until finally cresting in a full blooded shriekathon. Hooker clearly has a penchant for strong bassists who can hold their own amid the mayhem as Smith’s muscular elastic pizzicato and searing bowed bass cut through like a fire truck in traffic. Passages of walking bass and time sketched on cymbals add some light to the shade of the squalling upper register sax and guitar heroics, but the non-stop high energy group interaction remains the dominant feature. Great fun, but it is the other disc which grabs attention and ranks among the year’s best.

  3. Free jazz drummer William Hooker has led and participated in some very interesting ensembles during his lengthy career on the free jazz scene, none more so than the fascinating and exciting group assembled for this recording. The first part of this limited edition LP set is a suite entitled “Bliss (east)” with Hooker on drums, Darius Jones on alto sax and Adam Lane on bass.

    This is a very powerful performance recorded at The Stone in New York City in 2007. The group makes for a lean and powerful trio with Hooker’s free ranging drums and Lane’s rock solid and dependable bass making a perfect launching pad for Jones’s extraordinary saxophone flight. Jones has a raw and thrilling tone on his instrument and the same energy that he brought to his solo album Man’ish Boy and the collective Little Women is on display here. With the immediate and caustic tone of the saxophone combined the elastic bass and ever shifting drums, tracks like the lengthy “Chronofiles” develop a powerful and visceral presence that is continually compelling.

    The second section entitled “Bliss (west)” has a different band with Hooker on drums, Aaron Bennett on tenor saxophone, Weasel Walter on guitar, and Damon Smith on bass. At nearly 40 minutes in length, the two part “Tensegrity(4d)” is a wild and thrilling ride. The addition of Walter makes for a more vividly textured recording and the live audience at The Hemlock Tavern, San Francisco is deeply engaged and supportive of the band.

    The performance builds to a very exciting and dramatic conclusion, the all the musicians locked in and driving to the finish. This was a very exciting and enjoyable album, free jazz fans with a functioning turntable are advised to pick up a copy before they disappear. Hopefully there will be a digital version soon, so that the this music can get the wider audience it deserves.

  4. This double vinyl LP by William Hooker is one worth having, if alone for the first record, called “Bliss (East)”. It is recorded live at The Stone in New York in 2007, with Darius Jones on sax and Adam Lane on bass. From start to finish it represents everything you expect from stellar free jazz: it is powerful, energetic, unrelenting, raw, creative, expressive, soulful, with all three musicians giving their absolute deepest self in their playing. Darius Jones is magnificent, but so are Hooker and Lane. Yet it is not all raw power. Hooker’s drum solo is introvert as compared to the first side of the record, and the last piece starts with a great bass intro, mid-tempo with sax and drums joining full of subtlety and sensitivity, with evolving levels of intensity, ending in absolute gut-wrenching drama, followed by a few subtle sobs.

    The second record of the album, “Bliss (West)”, was recorded in 2009 at The Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco, with Aaron Bennett on tenor, Weasel Walter on guitar and Damon Smith on bass, and of course Hooker on drums. The approach is quite different, with a more rock attitude, full of anger and violence, yet it is working on a different plane: the approach is more direct, simpler in a way, less impactful and less convincing in my opinion. There is more attitude than musical power. It is odd in a way. It has its great moments. A trio without the guitar may have sounded different, and may have provided better continuity with the first record.

    As it stands now, you get to see two of the many faces of William Hooker. But the first record is absolutely stunning. I wish the concert could have been spread over the entire album.

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