Peter Kuhn / Dave Sewelson: Our Earth / Our World (PFMCD097)
Peter Kuhn: alto and tenor sax, Bb clarinet
Dave Sewelson: baritone and sopranino sax
Larry Roland: bass • Gerald Cleaver: drums
1) Our Earth 25:22
2) Our World 12:36
3) It Matters 11:07
Our Earth / Our World
“Just because you don’t see me, it doesn’t mean I am gone.”
The music on this CD is beautiful. It moves me to stand on one foot and hop in joy. It's laced with a dark and searing lyricism that one finds on those hot summer nights when the freedom bell tolls and all the heavy weight players would pick up their horns and blow all night. Dave Sewelson, Peter Kuhn, Larry Roland, and Gerald Cleaver are creating their own tradition and it is reborn each time they play.
The music swoops and soars into inner and outer space. Cane reeds vibrating and living in both the urban and celestial worlds at the same time. The sound re-enters with the earth touching it’s own root then resurfacing as colorful flowers made of soil and mud wrapped in a shell of hope that rests on a cradle of freedom. Then the phrase, “Just because you don’t see me, it doesn’t mean I am gone.”
Peter Kuhn who is back on the scene meeting with Dave Sewelson who still remains one of the best kept secrets on the music scene but is a hero in the tone world. Here they cross paths with Larry Roland’s mystical bass and Gerald Cleavers Saturday morning Detroit thrust. I would suggest you clean your palate and give this music a big listen. Veterans are in the house bringing in some of that old time religion. No time to experiment they know exactly where they are going into the unknown where pure creativity lives.
—William Parker, 2015
If I had to choose a way to describe the music that flows through Our Earth/Our World that description would begin with intuition and conversation. The best of freely-improvised music is always rich in these details, and the dialog between Kuhn and Sewelson has obviously stood the test of time.
This disc, recorded on a brisk April evening at the 2015 Arts for Art Festival begins with the sonic swirl of Dave Sewelson’s rough-hewn baritone saxophone jostling against the slinky sinew of Peter Kuhn’s Bb clarinet. Right away, the melodic interplay between the two musicians, (an association that began some 40 years ago) rings true and devastatingly clear. Themes and riffs wrap around each other with serpentine grit and gristle, all with the surety of notated material – yet nothing was written down. “No discussion, no plan, no charts or even concepts,” Kuhn related, via email. “I had never met Larry or Gerald before the set, and they hadn’t played together before this either.”
Kuhn was making reference to the sterling rhythm section of Larry Roland on bass and the marvelous Gerald Cleaver on drums, who both leap into the fray of the 26-minute opener, “Our Earth,” with muscled dialog and multidirectional waves of motion, including a brief drum and bass duet that precedes Kuhn’s screaming essay on tenor saxophone, which wails in the best of the post-Ayler traditions – a sermon of great extremes joined at its orgiastic apex by Sewelson’s equally committed spiraling altissimo pealing. All of this flows atop the crisp martial cadences and precise control of dynamics initiated by Cleaver’s snare and the depth of Roland’s arco and pizzicato accompaniment. Sewelson returns on the tiny sopranino saxophone – his sound is dark, fat, and swollen with sonic fertility. Once again, the horns entwine and spiral into deep conversation. A joyous beginning.
Cleaver, an acknowledged master of subtle gestures, opens the second selection, “Our World,” with a stunning drum narrative that leads both hornmen into a writhing jostle of overtones on sopranino and clarinet, respectively, over the relentless ostinato of Roland. Back on baritone, Sewelson whinnies and squeals, all while alluding to an almost Motown-like pocket as Kuhn’s tenor reengages, stoking the fire with chortling repetitions and bone-chilling eruptions into the upper register.
That sense of joyful audacity deepens when Roland unleashes a monstrous solo to introduce the final selection, “It Matters,” where Kuhn’s lithe Bb clarinet burrows a serpentine course deep into the heart of the music, all the while guided by the ebb and flow of Cleaver’s drums, which both explode and illuminate.
You can feel the enthusiasm of the packed house – not just in the applause that peppers each selection – but in the spontaneous gasps and groans that accompany several unforgettable moments of deep listening. Turn it up. Enjoy. Repeat.
—Robert Bush, 2016
© 2016 Dependent Origination Music, ASCAP
Recorded at Arts For Arts Our Earth/Our World series, NYC, April 2015
Mastered by Wayne Peet, Newzone Studio, Los Angeles
Photos ©2016 Michael Klayman. Used by permission.
Layout, Jeff Kaiser