Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Recording: David Prentice and co.

Artist: David Prentice [with John Oswald / David Prentice and Arthur Bull / ensemble]

Songs: [a series of improvisations]

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), December 27, 2013.

David Prentice and John Oswald - [two edited fragments]

David Prentice and Arthur Bull - [first piece]

David Prentice and ensemble - [excerpt]

Full review to follow. A rather exciting early show in the Southern Cross was a reunion of sorts, put together by John Oswald to give folks a rare chance to hear David Prentice in action. Now working as a violin maker in Flesherton, Prentice was also a longstanding member of the Toronto improvising community, including the mysterious/legendary Double Wind Cello Trios.

Starting with a series of duos, Prentice and Oswald played together first, followed by a pairing of Prentice and guitarist Arthur Bull. The latter was a last-minute fill-in for the gig, sitting in for Tiina Kiik — and though Bull (now living out in Halifax) was not part of the DWCT scene, he's no stranger to these musicians — he's a veteran of the legendary CCMC open jam nights of the '70-'80's and much more. In fact, before playing with Prentice, Bull commented, "you can think of this as a slightly-delayed cassette release. [beat] The cassette came out in 1986. We never did get around to having an event."1 Unsurprisingly, they had a natural interplay that hinted at a strong musical kinship, even if they haven't played together in quite a while. (The tinny buzzing you might hear midway through is courtesy of an aluminum pie plate that Bull borrowed from Scot Thomson, who had used it as a mute in his mini-set with Germaine Liu.) The night ended with all of the duos joining together into a quintet for a final, longer set.

The whole evening offered excellent performances, but also food for thought on several matters. It was highly enjoyable to just watch this as a reunion of old friends (both playing and in the crowd), and I'm glad it gave me an impetus to do some digging to learn a bit more about the local improvised music scene from a time before I was paying attention to it. Even more inspiring was the reminder of how music is a lifetime pursuit, and that one's own development and the bonds made over time can be a measure of success.

1 I assume he was referring to this, which is a thoroughly tasty bit of work. Cassette excavators: get this in your re-issue queue!

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