Friday, May 13, 2005

crowning bass

The other day I was burning time at Regulator Books in Durham so I could miss the brutal I-40E rush hour crunch. Leaving around 6:20 is safe if you can't skate out by 4:30 or so; but I've had luck at 5:30 too. Anyhow. With thirty minutes to go I slipped in to browse the magazines and ended with coffee and spotting new listings in the 7th edition of Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD; I got four earlier editions giving me what I want, so was not about to buy this one. But flipping through I came up to a new Crowned album, PJG's highest rating bestowed, this time, on 96 albums: Peter Kowald's Was Da Ist, his 1995 solo bass album. So what wise words did Cook and Morton say?

It may seem difficult, if not impossibly perverse, to justify the highest ranking for a record of solo contrabass improvisations. We remain unrepentant. This is music of the very highest order, technically adroit, emotionally and intellectually concentrated, and beautifully recorded ... A record to savor and ponder; a record to return to as often as time allows.

Wonderously right on; though I hadn't listened to the ablum for quite awhile, probably since Kowald's death in September 2002. After getting home (traffic was sparse) I dusted off Was Da Ist plus 13 Definitions of Truth, duo with percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani, and The Victoriaville Tape, duo with William Parker. Then, sat back for some savoring and pondering.

Peter Kowald - Was Da Ist pt. 1
Peter Kowald - Was Da Ist pt. 2
Peter Kowald - Was Da Ist pt. 20
Peter Kowald - Was Da Ist pt. 23

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