An absolutely bewitching album....
and something best explained by the man himself:
As a child, my family would make periodic journeys from Wisconsin to my grandparents' home in Louisville, Kentucky. There, my grandfather had a wealth of bird houses and feeders set up in the back yard. On the back porch, we would sit waiting for our meals to be ready inside, watching the birds. My grandfather and uncle would relate stories of the different aviary personalities that would regularly visit for food, make attempts at communicating with the birds, and, in their curmudgeonly fashion, curse those squirrels that would ravage the birds' sanctuary. Eventually, with our meals ready, we would sit and eat, as the birds kept us company outside the window.
In 2000 or so, my friend Simon Furnish opened my eyes to a new world of jazz that I hadn't explored by introducing me to Eric Dolphy. I devoured the music and ideas with a voraciousness that I hadn't had since I first discovered punk rock. At some point shortly thereafter he loaned me a biography of Eric Dolphy by Simosko and Tepperman. It was skeletal, but I was hungry for any window into his approach to music and life. One passage in particular jumped out at me, a quote from a Dolphy interview in Down Beat from 1962. "At home (in California) I used to play, and the birds always used to whistle with me. I would stop what I was working on and play with the birds...Birds have notes in between our notes - you try to imitate something they do and, like, maybe it's between F and F-sharp, and you'll have to go up or come down on the pitch...Indian music has something of the same quality - different scales and quarter tones." This single quote filled my head with a wide range of romantic images of Dolphy's interaction and fascination with birds.
This record is a tribute to both Eric Dolphy and the bird sounds that mystify not only us, but all others who listen to our world with a different set of ears. It also, in some small way, is a response to the microscopic sampling technique employed by many modern composers. While it can be beautiful, it seems strange to pay tribute to jazz by taking a microsecond of it so far out of context that there is no way to know a sample's source aside from the statements of the composer. It was my hope with this record, that I could somehow decontextualize and create a new set of music using the sounds of Eric Dolphy without losing his fundamental Dolphy-ness for lack of a better word. A collage, a collaboration, a tribute. -Connor Bell
|Vinyl will be ready in January if all goes as planned. Order CD's below.|