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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Loren Connors & Daniel Carter - The Departing of a Dream (Family Vineyard, 2019) ****½

By David Menestres

The Departing of a Dream, vol. VII continues work that Loren Connors began in 2002, responding to the classic Miles Davis tune “He Loved Him Madly.” Since his first release in 1978, Connors has evolved into one of the most idiosyncratic of guitarists working today. He is deeply rooted in the blues tradition, but the music he plays has long outstripped any association with what is commonly referred to by that genre term while still managing to cut straight to the heart of the blues. Daniel Carter, an equally renowned multi-instrumentalist, has been active for even longer, working with everyone from Gunter Hampel and William Parker to David Grubbs and Spring Heel Jack, with tenure in groups including Test and Other Dimensions in Music.

The shards of reverb dripping off of Connor’s guitar are at times so violent they sound like one of Z’EV’s metallic sculptures caught in the contrails of a jet, and at times are as soft as a long lost daydream echoing in a desert canyon. Carter’s trumpet and saxophone chart a slow path behind Connors’ guitar, a counterpoint that dips in and out of sight, like a small river that runs down mountains and across wide plains as it searches for an outlet to the sea. This is music that swells and ebbs and demands close listening. Cranking it as loud as possible on your stereo offers one set of answers, listening to it softly draws back the veil on a different set of questions.

The music is jazz without being jazz, the blues without being the blues. It’s just music, made by two excellent explorers, each still searching after however many decades. Well worth many spins on your turntable or your hard drive.