Joseph Daley, Warren Smith, Scott Robinson: The Tuba Chronicles

Joseph Daley, Warren Smith, Scott Robinson: The Tuba Chronicles

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Joseph-Daley-1-JDGThis is a recording which ticks so many worthwhile boxes that it’s difficult to know where to begin. It’s a great souvenir of a grand occasion (the coming together of three brilliant musical minds) for sure,; it’s a recording of a work so complex that it might never be performed again, unless it is broken up into smaller pieces ; to my knowledge it’s the finest homage to the bass clef that I have heard in recent memory and it’s a score whose eventfulness plays admirably to its protagonists individual brands of theatricality: principally the lord and master of the bass register, Joseph Daley as well as the greatest percussion colourist of our day, Warren Smith and a man who single-handedly reinvents reeds and woodwinds every time he plays them – Scott Robinson. That reads like such a disparate trio, but somehow, as if by magic and sheer dint of hard work it works like a dream come true in the realm of rarefied music.

Joseph-Daley-Tuba-Chronicles-JDGTuba Chronicles though? Well thereby hangs a tale. What we hear in terms of musical substance is to all intents and purposes the “Goldberg”, albeit on a vastly smaller scale, of our day. Look at the back of the disc jacket and what so you see? Seven –in keeping with things mathematical – the lowest natural number that cannot be represented as the sum of the squares of three integers; things biblical – the seventh day and musical – the seven deadly sins and the seven gifts – Joseph Daley’s favourite and most significant number when writing music which is sanctified in many more respects than merely mathematical; more like spiritual. To Mr. Daley all of it is important because math and science and art are bound together by the glue of creation: the spirit. But why do I digress? There has always been a feeling that Joseph Daley’s instrumentation, based largely upon the bass clef in music, often uses instruments that form the bottom of music in unison. In doing so Mr. Daley not only updates that sound world identified by Charlie Haden as being so essential to music that without it music simply could not exist but he relocates all registers to the sophisticated milieu to the baroquerie of the Bass.

Further Mr. Daley enriches brass and woodwind writing adding here the bottom end of percussion making this music in the manner of a series of instrumental (voiceless) arias if ever there could be such a far-fetched thing of his own making. I posit that the playing – including the percussion elements sometimes – equates to vocalizing effects coming from baritone downwards, the richness of which is breathtaking. Imagine a chorus of baritones and basses supporting soli by one or the other if you will, telling Homeric stories of musical Odysseus-like characters reporting on epic battles of a musical kind; arguments between tuba and contrabass saxophone and other such instruments of magical gravitas. All of this is to illuminate the brass and woodwind writing providing a luxurious, burnished cushion for Warren Smith’s jagged yet melodious rhythms and again, brass and woodwinds and reeds to interpolate chorus after chorus of music, each a breathtaking voyage of discovery. All of this is driven by Odysseus/Joseph Daley, hence The Tuba Chronicles.

The ear is continually delighted by a series of remarkable instrumental combinations; a particular highlight is the ghostly pairing of the terrarium and the sonorous jazzophone with the dramatic range of frequencies of tympani, gongs and cymbals on the sequence entitled simply Sonorous. But don’t be under the impression that all of this music is deadly serious. There is fun to be had even through the roar and thunder of brass and woodwinds and the rumble of percussion which hisses and sparkles with evident glee. Each of the instrumentalists is matched by impeccable credentials and the ardour of musical practice. Together they revel in choruses that were there human voices they would seem to have a Handel hallmark. Such is the gargantuan force that this music has and it is beginning to sound as if Joseph Daley is using his music to give rise to a tradition of large-scale works for the bass, or bottom register of all music. Clearly this is music of great significance and clearly Joseph Daley is to be revered, quite simply, as a true original.

Track List: Interplay; Modality; Emergence; Sonorous; Terrarium; Beatrice; Proclamation.

Personnel: Joseph Daley: euphonium (1 3, 5); tuba (2, 5, 6, 7), open & muted tuba (4); Warren Smith: MPI (multiple percussion instrument {drum set}) (1, 5, 7); bass marimba (2), marimba (5); tympani (3, 4, 5); bass drum (3, 4); gongs (3, 4, 5); Chinese cymbal (3); cymbals (4); crotales (4, 5); cow bells (5); wood blocks (5); vibraphone (6); Scott Robinson: tenor saxophone (1, 6); bass saxophone (2, 4, 7); contrabass sarrusophone (3); jazzophone (3, 4); bass flute (5, 6); theramin (5); photo theramin (5); waterphone (5); percussion (5); contralto clarinet (5).

Label: JoDa Music
Release date: November 2015
Website: jodamusic.com
Running time: 1:09:58
Buy music on: Website: cdbaby.com

About Joseph Daley

After nearly 40 years of recognition as one of the consummate sidemen on the adventurous music scene – with remarkable artists like Sam Rivers, Carla Bley, Gil Evans, Charlie Haden, Taj Mahal and so many more – Joseph Daley stunned musicians and fans alike with his brilliant CD, The Seven Deadly Sins, released in 2011. Read more…

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Based in Canada, Raul is a musician and an accomplished writer whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

1 COMMENT

  1. Your commentary is always very enlightening and refreshingly original. Thank you for taking time to seriously listen to the music and evaluate it based solely on it’s merits………………………….

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