Walls and Bridges was recorded during John Lennon's infamous "lost weekend," as he exiled himself in California during a separation from Yoko Ono. Lennon's personal life was scattered, so it isn't surprising that Walls and Bridges is a mess itself, containing equal amounts of brilliance and nonsense…
A solo programme of Taylor performing all his own music virtually guarantees something out of the ordinary. So it proves here. In a beautiful exposition of sweepingly romantic piano playing, he creates a series of moods, by turns sad, nostalgic, joyful, dancing and playful, which have a suggestive capacity as varied as their emotional climate, though his titles don't always give a clue; Wych Hazel is more like the memory of a past love, for example. He's also a great melodist; both In Cologne and the very different In February are stunningly beautiful examples of his ability to come up with charming themes and match them with equally beguiling solos. And three short, free pieces show, paradoxically, how disciplined and imaginative, in terms of line and harmony, he is in a context like this. Lovely
One of the most talked about and well attended shows of Zorn’s 50th Birthday month was his much anticipated duo concert with Boredoms mastermind, Yamataka Eye. Close friends and musical associates since 1985, their love, respect and telepathic interplay was augmented on this occasion by electronic technician Sawai Taeji, who responded to Eye’s sensor movements via powerbook. Jewish Alchemy meets Japanese Shamanism in this ritual performance of music and magic from two of the world’s most unusual and unclassifiable adepts. Included as a bonus is a Quicktime video of the performance accessible on your computer.
He may have gotten his start with the hep swing of BEAT GIRL, then became a musical sensation for creating the cool jazz action of Agent 007. But for all of the lush stylings that John Barry used to define symphonic scoring as a contemporary “with it” sound, the composer proved he could make his approach sound just as contemporarily moving in the service of such historical dramas as MARY QUEEN OF SCOTTS, THE LION AND THE WINTER and THE LAST VALLEY. For if any music conveyed the feeling of untouched forests, royal intrigue and romantic mythmaking, then it was Barry’s theme-heavy scoring. Sure he’d latch onto a melody and beat you to death with it. But what a way to go, as Barry usually came up with a motif that you wouldn’t mind hearing ad infinitum, especially as his theme took on new life with each variation for strings, brass and winds. This was the kind of melody that helped make legendary figures into breathing, loving people, even when their movie got its kicks from turning such Technicolor heroes as Robin Hood and Maid Marian into characters just about ready for assisted living.