Cloud Becomes Your Hand makes music that elicits vocabulary of physical space more than that of music. Listening to the eight tracks on Rest In Fleas feels like wandering through a strange and fantastical landscape inhabited by swarming insects, visions of childhood blankets, a storm at sea, and a shroom growing out of a shoe under a boulder. As you might have guessed, the Brooklyn-based band borrows heavily from psychedelic music and its more art-inclined cousin, prog-rock, and its structures meander journey-like through futuristic synths, retro flutes, and other voices. Each new instrument and lyrical image feels like an encounter with an otherworldly being.
Guitarist Lenny Breau's short life (1941-1984) is a movie waiting to be made. Before his still unsolved murder, he was able to bring a new voice to the guitar by adapting country fingerpicking technique to the intricacies of modern jazz. A Breau hallmark was his highly developed ability to play bass, chords and single notes concurrently - in effect having a trio in his right hand. The newly re-released Complete Living Room Tapes, with clarinetist Brad Terry, is a 2-CD close look at Breau in peak form, circa 1979. It contains four new bonus tracks and presents a comprehensive picture of his influences and virtuosity.
This recording, comprised of two complete Art Ensemble of Chicago albums – Les Stances a Sophie with singer Fontella Bass from 1970 and People in Sorrow from 1969 – offers two very different sides of the group's sound from this key period in their development. Recorded in France and released on the Nessa label in the United States, the two discs show how much in command the AEC were of their strengths even at that early date, though for the record it should be noted that with the exception of Don Moye and Lester Bowie, the trio of Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman, and Malachi Favors had been playing together since 1965…
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