“Isotope” (Joe Henderson)

The variation in (atomic) number has a certain gravity and weight—of neutral or non-charges merely taking up (mental) space—which weighs heavily on the (social) scientific; it’s not totally a matter of numbers or whether majority/minority status should be instrumental but, rather, an opportunity to recalibrate and voice anew how the standard element is merely more common in particular localities. Tenor attempts a few strategies to test out spacing and position of minority embodiment: interjecting sixteenth-notes in eighth-note runs, overblowing during faster runs, and swinging without melody; and even though Tyner’s piano swings strongly, it also hesitates near its solo’s end with a three-note spike, injecting discomfort. Ending with doubled piano/tenor restatement of head—in more melodic terms—chemistry, in the form of the ceaseless experimentation without expectation, survives by de-anticipating gradualist structural development.


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“Voyage” (Family)

Ah, the eternal questions: what is “truth,” “and where do I look for proof?” More specifically, do the phenomena of time and color exist in the world, or only inside of me?  It is my “whereabouts” that are at stake as I sail along on this strange voyage called life. It appears that I cannot find my bearings without another: “who do I ask and what do I say?” But there’s no great guru waiting on a hilltop. Instead, there’s the problem of her truth and his truth and my truth. Listen closely: each time the trax scales up toward “truth” the tape is slowed down, torn, and cut off. We’re on the far side of knowing, it seems, which leaves us in a seesawing, group jam that hints at both a unified cosmos and chaos. But, importantly, neither here nor there.


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