Michael Mantler (trumpet)
Mike Stern (guitar)
Carla Bley (piano)
Steve Swallow (bass)
Nick Mason (drums)
The Strings of the
London Symphony Orchestra
arranged and conducted by
February through June 1982
|Twenty / Twenty One / Nineteen / Seventeen / Eighteen / Something There|
|FROM THE ALBUM LINER NOTES|
There by Samuel
Copyright © 1975 by Samuel Beckett and New Departures, re-printed by permission)
|FROM AN INTERVIEW|
How did you choose the musicians on your new album, and why these particular ones?
First of all, they are my friends, and I prefer to work with friends. Carla has produced and played on every one of my records. I consider her indispensable to my music. Steve Swallow has also been involved in almost all of my projects. Both of them are crucial to the first stage of the recording, where they shape and transform the basic original scores I present them with.
I've worked with Nick Mason, who is Pink Floyd's drummer, on an earlier album ("The Hapless Child"), for which he did some engineering. We met at the time through Robert Wyatt, the main soloist on that album. Later on we worked together on a more involved project, Nick's own solo album ("Fictitious Sports"), for which Carla had written the music. I has always liked Pink Floyd and his drumming, and I thought it would be interesting to use him in another context.
I didn't actually meet Mike Stern until the sessions, but he had been recommended by a lot of people, also in particular by Carla, who had heard him with Miles Davis' new band. He's a wonderful musician, and I am extremely pleased with what he contributed, both to the basic tracks as well as to the solo sections.
Michael Gibbs has been a friend for twenty years. He was practically the first person I met when I arrived in the United States, but this is the first time we have ever worked together.
Why did you use strings, and why the London Symphony Orchestra?
My music is basically meant to be orchestral, although, for economic reasons, I've recently had to more or less discontinue writing orchestrally. I also thought that my small group writing had been explored enough in "Movies" and "More Movies", and I was tired of using that format again.
I don't particularly like to perform, I don't have to keep in mind the
feasibility of a live performance, and so I decided to just go ahead and
return to a larger texture. I have always liked strings, but have never
used them as a separate body. Nevertheless, I didn't feel equipped enough
technically to write for and conduct the strings, so I enlisted Michael
Gibbs, who is a masterful orchestrator.
|FROM A REVIEW|
Mantler, a musician's musician among New York and Europe's avant-garde circles, has been a tireless worker for the jazz oriented "new-music" scene ... Here we find Mantler's quintet and, of all things, the strings of the London Symphony Orchestra. In a six-part suite inspired by Samuel Beckett's poem "Something There", Mantler and his friends juxtapose solo and ensemble gestures against the astringent yet sonorous strings, skillfully arranged by Michael Gibbs from Mantler's sketches.The contrasts, sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet are poignantly dramatic. Eerie, perhaps even cataclysmic, it's an eruption of both fire and ice.
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