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April 07, 1989 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-04-07

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Friday, April 7, 1989

Page 5

Brackeen
breaks
gender
barrier
BY LIAM FLAHERTY
S WING is surely a gender free
quality, and the perception that it
resides only in XY chromosomes
has persisted too long. Eclipse is
making a bid for musical revision
and recognition with its Women in
Jazz series.
The series began last Tuesday,
with a far too sparse "crowd" wit-
nessing pianist Bess Bonnier in the
Kuenzel Room of the Union. Re-
demption is possible this Saturday,
when another gifted pianist, Joanne
Brackeen, arrives in town.
Brackeen is a largely self taught
player, absorbing sounds and sitting
in at jazz clubs. Like many others,
she was inspired by Dexter Gor-
don's powerful lyricism, an aspect
which is readily apparent in her
own work. At the age of 30 she
entered the heady firmament of Art
Blakey's Jazz Messengers. The
Messengers has been a nurturing
start for a ridiculous amount of tal-
ent but, before Brackeen, no woman
had held down a post for very long.
She stayed three years, proving
once again that the fainthearted do
not bop with Blakey.
Since then she has performed
with other heavyweights, including
Eddie Gomez and Stan Getz. She
currently leads her own groups, al-
ways with musicians strong and
adept enough to hang with her hard

Steve Reich

What

is the music of the modern

composer?

BY WILLIAM (BILL) C.
BANFIELD
IN this age of rap, fusion, new age,
urban, gospel, heavy metal, and
Michael Jackson one may ask,
"What is the music of the modern
composer?" For many modern
composers, the answer is an art ei-
ther deeply rooted in Wesetern Euro-
pean tradition, or something well
suited for the academic splicing
table.
Steve Reich might answer the
question thus: "It's 1989."
Reich's music, exemplified on
the new Electra Nonesuch release,
Different Trains/Electric Counter-
point, is modern, funky, creative,
popular, eclectic, "soulful," and
definitely composition.
Reich's music is known to many
as minimalism or phase music. By
technique, the composer reduces the
musical materials to a simple
repetitive phrase or scheme and can
generate form and interest by
slightly shifting a beat or a note of
the harmony. The effect is hypnotic.
On Different Trains, perceptible
process translates to perpetual
groove. It cannot be reduced to cool
backdrop music for the space cadet,
nor to academic specimen music for
the "enlightened." Reich's music is
alive and vibrant, has meaning, and
is experienced like African music, as
the celebration of life itself (Reich
studied Ewe drumming in Ghana).
"Different Trains," the first piece
on the album, is an incredibly
intoxicating work, Its immediacy
has a lot to do with the fact that
both the harmony and rhythms are
derived from human speech patterns
digitally sampled and played over and
over on a tape loop. On the record-
ing, the famous Kronos String

Quartet plays music composed by
Reich against the pulsating, repeti-
tive voice patterns. This creates an
(Reich) reduces the
musical materials to a
simple repetitive
phrase or scheme and
can generate form and
interest by slightly
shifting a beat or a note
of the harmony. The
effect is hypnotic.
intriguing texture that grabs you
both becuase of its rhythmic vitality
and its overall unity. Equally inter-
esting is the fact that Reich uses
electronically created train sounds
and sirens, adding even more variety
to the production.
The second piece on the new re-
lease, "Electric Counterpoint,"
which Reich will perform Saturday,
is a piece in three movements for
electric guitar and a perfect match of
artistry between Reich and gifted
guitarist Pat Metheny. The work, a
myriad of ten guitar textures and two
basses, against which Metheny im-

provises, is not only rhythmically
irresistable, but a gorgeous
composition.
Riech's album will soon be heard
across the country on any number of
contemporary, new age, soft rock,
and jazz stations. But we in Ann
Arbor get to witness Reich and his
music live Saturday.
STEVE REICH and musicians will
perform at the Michigan Theater at 8
p.m. Saturday: Tickets are $7.50
with student I.D.
WEEKEND
MAGAZINE
Fridays in The Daily
763-0379
TIME TO GRADUATE?
TIME TO
CELEBRATE!
*SENIORS*
PRIVATE PARTIES HERE!
Call soon for reservations
310 Maynard 994.6500

Joanne Brackeen, a largely self-taught jazz pianist, will arrive from
New York for the second installment of Eclipse's Women in Jazz
series.

driving, high flying propulsiveness.
Although she has a strong feel for
tradition, her performances always
deliver some forays into uncharted
waters of improvisation. Her
reputation is growing, and as she
stands on the threshold, Ann Arbor
might be enjoying one of the last

opportunities to witness the adven-
ture up close.
JOANNE BRACKEEN, the second
artist in Eclipse's WOMEN IN
JAZZ series, will perform tomor-
row at 8 p.m. in the Kuenzel Room
of the Michigan Union. Admission
is free.

Come

See

What's NEW

TIME TO MOVE?
DON'T PANIC!
Look for the "Moving
Soon?" pages April 7 in
Weekend Magazine

So
the

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