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The Remembrancer: Justin Haynes Plays the Compositions of Patrick

The Remembrancer: Justin Haynes Plays the Compositions of Patrick

I listen to a lot of records. Especially jazz records. It seems to me that in the jazz community of the 1950s, people were much more inclined to record pieces by their peers than they are now. For example, when Steve Lacy began recording Thelonious Monk’s music, Monk himself was still an active musician. Perhaps Monk was more of a model than a peer for Mr. Lacy, but he was an active participant in the jazz scene nonetheless. Charlie Parker recorded the music of his peer, Dizzy Gillespie. John Coltrane recorded great versions of songs by Cal Massey and Mal Waldron. Perhaps the best example is Miles Davis, who recorded pieces and arrangements by Ahmad Jamal as well as those of his younger collaborators Bill Evans, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul and Marcus Miller (among others). Gunther Schuller once said that he felt that Charles Ives was not the composer he might have been, since he rarely heard his work performed and therefore couldn’t get a real sense of his own compositional voice. Certainly, there is much to be gained from hearing one’s own music performed and interpreted by someone else. The late Justin Haynes understood the value of this. This recording of pieces by Patrick O'Reilly is part of a line, a tradition of Justin’s embrace of other composers who were his peers and his mentees. He made a life project of exploring these people’s work, performing and recording the music of Rob Clutton, Myk Freedman, Stephen Parkinson, Justin Orok and others. I think he recognized that these works could benefit from having different interpretations of them in the world. In addition, I think that he was often exhausted by his own musical imagination as a composer, and working within the confines of someone else’s source material gave him a focus and clarity that he appreciated. The music: Shattered opens the album with Patrick's piece delivered (on guitar and keyboard) over a recording of rainfall. Or at least, that's what I think it is. Paths: If you take away the pitches in Patrick's score, the instructions sound like a template for all solo free improvisation: (Start on any pitch. Move freely in any direction between connected pitches. Rhythmic values are indeterminate. Pitches may be played in any octave. End on any pitch.) Possibly played on a tenor guitar or simply a de-tuned six-string, Justin's reading of blnt soon niue (an anagram for blues notion? not quite) adds some spare harmony to the single line piece. In fact, none of these pieces have any chords notated. That was definitely one of Justin's interpretational gifts: adding things that aren't there and subtracting things that are, in search of the core of a given piece of music. The title track is another great example of this. Drag and Drone Bank pleasantly loop Pat's pitches and rhythms around and about. Nadir: a beautifully soulful, mournful and circular piece closes the album. -Nick Fraser, January 2020

The Remembrancer: Justin Haynes Plays the Compositions of Patrick

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