Gradually they add sombre pedal-points, heightening the atmosphere before Parker drops out and the strings begin to slip and slide until the piece ends, after almost 10 minutes, with several of them holding a tentative D natural. Hawkins, the 16th musician, is featured on the fourth piece, against a walking line played by two basses Charles and Marianne Schofield and possibly one of the two cellos, too. Showing the pianist at his most inventive and hyper-alert, it has the loping gait and harmonically ambiguous flavour of the music created by young Cecil Taylor and the bassist with his early groups, Buell Neidlinger, before Parker pipes up with a reminder of another early Taylor collaborator, Steve Lacy, in a passage of ensemble agitation that resolves into an elegant, ruminative diminuendo.
The strings dominate the fifth piece, a collective statement in which the individual instruments glide around each other as if in mismatched orbits, the fine details of tone and timbre revealed within an aural space that feels busy yet uncluttered.
The sixth and final composition opens with a trio of Charles, Sanders and Wright, bass and drums working around light electronic taps, thuds and crackles. Pursglove and Hawkins emerge with staccato trumpet figures and a purposefully wandering single-note piano line, continuing as Sanders briefly dominates with thrashing brushwork before the other musicians reappear in a crescendo of exultant sound. A graceful withdrawal gives the last word to Parker and Hawkins, two improvisers who share a near-infallible instinct for an ending.
But by framing improvisation so creatively, Hawkins brings it to life in a different way. Much of it will be familiar even to amateur Dylanologists like me. As for Surbiton, the glancing mention made me curious, possibly because I live in that direction.
Both had Dylan connections, having met him in Cambridge, Massachusetts the previous summer. Sarjeant died in , aged 87, and no written record of a Dylan performance at his club appears to exist.
It seems highly likely that the three of them would have made it to the Assembly Rooms. Something Sonny Rollins said in an excellent interview in the March issue of Uncut magazine reminded me of how much I miss being in clubs.
The Village Vanguard, the legendary club on Seventh Avenue South where John Coltrane, Bill Evans and many others made historic recordings, is currently programming a series of livestreamed gigs. Sorey was billed as the leader, and I guess the tunes must have been his, but this was a meeting of three creative minds in a relaxed chamber-jazz environment. I particularly enjoyed seeing Tyshawn — who can do anything — at work on a small jazz kit, swinging with a loose, easy but totally alert feeling that makes me think of Billy Higgins and Tony Williams at the same time.
Lovano and Frisell played together for many years in a trio with the late drummer Paul Motian. The story of the Band is one of the most beautiful and tragic in the history of popular music. But at the Albert Hall on June 2, , we only knew the half of it: the beautiful half. Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson gave us one of the finest concerts imaginable, something that would stay in the memory of everyone lucky enough to have been there.
It was one of those nights when you felt you knew every single person in the audience: a kind of clan gathering, drawn together by a tremendous sense of anticipation. Even so, we got more than we expected. On a Monday afternoon two weeks earlier the five members of the Band could be found in the Hamilton Suite on the second floor of the Inn on the Park, close to Hyde Park Corner.
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Sweet Lightning. The Clarks. The Cynics. The Houserockers. The Igniters. The Rave-Ups. The Silencers. The Swamp Rats. Trent Reznor. Carl McVicker. Charles N Boyd. If you use headphones through a standard 'phone jack, there's no way you're going to get any soundstaging.
And you can just forget about outside-the-head localization footnote 1. With everything from Wagnerian orchestras to Brazilian tree toads, even the finest "cans" give you that center-of-your-head location.
This can be disorienting; it's the rare audiophile indeed who really wants a Brazilian tree toad in the center of his or her head. Attempts have been made to compensate for this, ranging from processors—such as those made by Stax and HeadRoom , which combine information from both channels to simulate a listening space—to bulky helmet-like apparatuses, which place the drivers to the front of the ear.
But even the best-sounding headphones are of no use to you if you don't like to wear them. Comfort is the second most frequently cited objection to headphones. Agonies are one of my changes of garments The discomfort experienced by high-end headphone wearers can be attributed primarily to three causes: weight, sweat-producing earpieces, and caliper pressure, aka "that vise-like feeling"—all of which are remediable through intelligent design.
In terms of comfort, I've never met their match. All surfaces that contact the head or surround the ear are swathed in a velveteen material covering open-cell foam. The earpads and headband sit lightly and, since they "breathe," are extremely comfortable—even during New York's humid summers. The Sennheisers weigh a total of gm for you metricphobes, that's about 9oz , which is supported over the entire headband and feels light on the head, no matter how extended the listening session.
Sennheiser, being German, has come up with a measurement for caliper pressure: approximately 2. Sir Isaac never sat on my ear, so I'm not sure what that means exactly footnote 2.
Regardless of the measurement, the s remained comfortable hour after hour. The adjustable headband stays adjusted, and the earpieces are free to move vertically in relation to the headband, adding to long-term wearability.
The oval circumaural earpieces are large enough to comfortably cover even my huge ears, and their open-air design allows environmental sounds—such as ringing telephones—to be heard.
If enlightened engineering has taken care of comfort, then has it also eliminated that signature headphone sound? Sorry, no. To solve the spatial recovery problem, you still have to employ specially designed processors, which I intend to examine in future pieces; but, paraphrasing mystery writer Jonathan Valin footnote 3 , why are so many of us hung up on looking at the music? Sometimes you just need to shut your eyes and listen.
To be musically valid, the experience of listening to headphones doesn't have to be identical to that of listening to your main system any more than listening to your stereo need be identical to the real event. I'm not suggesting that we jettison live music in a real space as our reference, but we must acknowledge that, as discrete experiences, each type of listening has its value and place.
Glories strung like beads Yes, you do give up some seductive imaging information when listening to even the finest headsets. Ambience suffers as well. What you gain is an immediacy, a sense of proximity to the music that has its own appeal. I'm reminded of the orchestral concerts at Carnegie Hall where I've had front-row seats, from which the beautiful hall-acoustic is almost totally obscured by the incredibly powerful direct sound of the instruments.
It's quite a rush, wallowing in the sheer sound. While I'm not about to forsake midhall—or even upper-balcony—seats, neither am I immune to the charm of front-row immediacy. This was brought home to me when I listened to Corigliano's Symphony 1 Erato The power, impact, and lack of room acoustic were similar to those experienced when, sitting in the eighth row, I heard Barenboim and the CSO perform the piece in Carnegie Hall.
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