Monday, December 8, 2008

Henry Threadgill, Spirit of Nuff...Nuff (Black Saint)

Say what? Punctus contra punctum. My man John Rahn (Music Inside Out, 2000): "It is hard to write a beautiful song. It is harder to write several individually beautiful songs that, when sung simultaneously, sound as a more beautiful polyphonic whole. The internal structures that create each of the voices separately must contribute to the emergent structure of the polyphony, which in turn must reinforce and comment on the structures of the individual voices. The way that is accomplished in detail is...'counterpoint.'" It is even harder to improvise beautiful counterpoint. And it is even harder to do that with two electric guitars over two tubas, Threadgill's choice of alto or flute, and drums pulsing zydeco... like baroque chamber music for New Orleans brass band. Historical counterpoint... Hysterical counterpoint.

Suggested Wine Pairing: Hmmm... something unusual but palatable, and a white to go with the guitars (white wines seem to go better with electricity). Ah yes, a Roussane, but one that plays against Grenache and Viognier: Chateau L'Ermitage, Rhone Valley 2006, with thanks to Rachel and Ruth for the tip. Nuff...said.

Charlie Haden, Etudes (Soul Note)

5:30pm. And I wonder where I'm driving. I notice that the time of day has changed. Whereas in summer I would be looking forward to a long afternoon, in winter it might as well be midnight except for all the suits driving home from wherever it is they work. At least they're driving home. They stayed at home all weekend putting up their Christmas tree, hanging round metallic ornaments, and covering perfectly ripe oranges with spikes of clove. I never quite understood the purpose of the clove-encrusted orange, although I admire the way it might rest there in a large decorative bowl in the living room, golden fire behind it, Paul Motian's shimmering cymbals, Geri's Allen's light touch on keys around Charlie Haden's bass, the most lyrically beautiful version of Ornette's "Lonely Woman" ever laid down to tape (including the original, if you can believe that). By the time "Sandino" comes on, I have an urge to throw it into the fire place and watch it burn slowly all the colors of burnt crimson on the cover, releasing the aroma of clove and orange into the winter night. 5:31pm.

Suggested Wine Pairing:
What to go with fruit and spice? Must be a pinot, one as crisp as a fresh apple: Sipino Pinot Noir, Oregon 2006.