Saturday, October 09, 2010

Music Notes – Healing Waters

If you have heard of Dean Evenson, it is probably because you have spent time listening to one of the more atmospheric new age satellite broadcasts like Moodscapes. On the other hand, you likely did not catch the name because you were too busy doing yoga or meditating or sleeping to see it. Healing Waters is the first album I have listened to with a warning that said one should not listen to it while driving. And such a warning is probably a good idea.
Mr. Evenson plays some flutes and keyboards (the latter for background tone, not accompaniment). With the addition of acoustic guitar and ocean noises (waves, gulls, and whales I think), the disc is certainly relaxing. There are other instruments on the project, but the pieces with guitar are the ones that stand out for me. Healing Waters reminds me a lot of the music I hear in my favorite Chinese restaurant. It's not art, but does the job of setting a quiet mood.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Music Notes – Saturn Sings

Mary Halvorson’s Saturn Sings is a little on the avant garde side for my tastes, but not so much so that it would turn off everyone. Some of it actually grew on me. Halvorson is a good player, and the group behind her is intriguing to me, if not so for the casual jazz listener. I think I prefer the trio pieces a little more than those with the full quintet, but maybe because I'm not used to as many people going is so many directions.
The disc reminds me a bit of Bill Frisell without the Americana or well thought out effects. Some spots have me thinking of the late Derek Bailey, but just when I think a piece is too far in space to be retrieved, it seems to settle, hover around a snippet of melody, and then take off, not always beautifully, but most often strikingly. As Lars Gotrich writes, "each of these inspirations is an abstract cliff-dive, and...there's much to take in."