Rich West: Bedouin Hornbook (PFMCD016)

Louis Lopez 1 Comment

[playlist ids="387"]
Rich West Bedouin Hornbook

Chris Heenan: bass clarinet, alto saxophone
Bruce Friedman: trumpet
Jeremy Drake: electric guitar
Scot Ray: eb tuba
Rich West: drums

1. Bugge 11:20
2. Tribology 6:34
3. Twang 14:41
4. Tread 8:22
5. Friends of the Vacuum 9:00
6. Tychai 1 and 2 7:25
7. Curly 4:10
8. Furcifer 6:44
Total Time 68:16

All compositions by Rich West
©2004, Richwest Recordings, ASCAP
Recorded April 29, 2002 and March 12, 2003
Recorded and Mastered by Scott Fraser
Mixed by Rich West and Scott Fraser
at Architecture, Los Angeles, CA
CD Design and Layout by Jeremy Drake and Jeff Kaiser

“The sad thing about L.A. is that it’s hard keeping people in the same room for extended periods of time.”
— Rich West

The title is from a book by Nate Mackey, which I haven’t read. However, in the spirit of Richard Meltzer’s infamous “previews” of bands to whom he’s neither listened or talked prior to writing about them, I’ll concentrate on the nomadic implications of Bedouin (from Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language); nomad, “a member of a tribe, nation or race having no permanent home, but moving about constantly in search of food, pasture, etc.”, and suggest that this band is composed of nomads as only an L.A. band can be. Luckily, Rich West was able to get them in the same room at least long enough to produce this exuberant album. It’s not just that the tunes (he says, “everyone had a hand in some of the arrangements”) are strong and interesting (shades of Igor Stravinsky, Frank Zappa, Nino Rota), the playing — both written and improvised — is, too.

A surprising variety of moods and textures is developed, ranging from the inviting and theatrical “welcome to the show” feel of Tribology to the especially attractive Gyuto-Monks-meet-Fellini scenario on Twang. The sounds are oddly appealing in some non-traditional ways (murky trumpet, bell-like guitar). When it’s all over, you feel as if you’ve been someplace new. I can’t imagine any other five players who could play this music and make that happen. This is music that knows the difference between self-expression and self-indulgence, for which we should all be very happy.

— Dorothea Grossman, Los Angeles, CA, October 2003

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