Blaise Siwula, a singular and truly extraordinary musician from NY, is a major formative influence on my work as an improvisor, as I am sure he is for many, many musicians who have benefited from his performances and extensive organizing. From the first time I heard him live with Expositions Of Freedom...Now! (featuring simpatico rhythm section Vattel Cherry on double bass & Jeff Arnal on drums) all the way through our friendship over the years, I've made some of the best music of my life in configurations featuring Blaise. But most of this music hasn't been heard unless someone was in the room(s) when it was created. One particular week, November 2nd to 8th, 2003, we had six concerts(!) & a bunch more sessions. I took up residence in the city with Blaise and family, who very kindly extended a warm welcome, and we branched out socially and musically from there. Our additional artistic partners for the week definitely brought their A games...William Buchanan, Drew Gardner, Brian Osborne, Ravi Padmanabha, & Eric Zinman are wonderful foils adding their jaw-dropping physicality, heart, and soul to the horn and H'arpeggione interplay.
It's such a delight to present this music (there's so much of it!), and I'm grateful for field recorder technology circa 2003...the recordings are quite clear and detailed (with periodic meter-in-the-red lending a sense that these are "lost tapes" which they essentially are)...the supportive interactions really inhabit the space.
The first concert (a duo) at ABC No-Rio in Manhattan is perhaps lost to archival memory. But what is assembled in this album is otherwise a complete look at the week. Manhattan (Elixir Smart Bar; The 3 Jewels Center series "Jewels of Jazz"); Brooklyn (The Overground Series at The Pourhouse; The Read); Boston (META-SONIC RELAY: Music and Social Consciousness Music Series at Lucy Parsons Center); plus afternoon house sessions in NY and MA. Whew! And we need more such venues and series and opportunities; it's important stuff.
There's some nuanced vibes and the widest/wisest dynamics present with a healthy infusion of fireworks to round it out satisfyingly. Blaise deftly soars and swoops his coloratura ornaments in glorious flight, offering limitless enthusiasm and focus. I'm amazed at how comprehensive my musical presentation was back then at the tender age of 30; I am fortunate to have arrived at this moment and stewardship- the H'arpeggione wanted to be heard, that's for sure. And I'm struck by how much invention and unity is transmitted between us and our third partner(s) and venue and listener. Improvisation is essential and all-giving. Thank you so much to Blaise for the time and attention necessary to nurture these subtleties (and overts) and thank you as always for listening.
released July 15, 2018
recorded by Blaise Siwula, various locations in NY & MA, November 2003
mastered by Killick Hinds at H(i)nds(i)ght Studio, Athens GA
cover design by Killick Hinds
Killick Hinds- H'arpeggione
Blaise Siwula- saxophone & clarinet
William Buchanan- drums (Lucy Parsons Center)
Drew Gardner- drums (Elixir Smart Bar )
Brian Osborne- drums (The Pourhouse & The Read)
Ravi Padmanabha- percussion & voice & misc. (11.5.03 Brooklyn session & 3 Jewels Center)
Eric Zinman- piano (11.6.03 Studio 234 session)
One of my favorite albums ever! It beautifully captures the sound and spirit of where we live. I was honored to be the engineer for the session, and it is a highlight in my history as a record mogul. Killick