Two of vibraphonist Gary Burton's albums from 1969-1970 are reissued in full on this single CD. Burton teams up with pianist Keith Jarrett for five numbers (including four of Jarrett's originals) in 1970, using a quintet that also features guitarist Sam Brown, bassist Steve Swallow, and drummer Bill Goodwin. The other session has more of an avant-country flavor, with Burton, Swallow, and Goodwin joined by guitarist Jerry Hahn and violinist Richard Greene; Michael Gibbs and Swallow contributed most of the obscurities. Burton was at his most explorative during this period, which is why he can be considered one of the pioneers of fusion (although his music never really fit into a tight category). This is excellent music that mostly still sounds fresh.
Nearly 35 years separate this work from the large-scale Piano Concerto completed in 1985. Harrison's fascination with exotic musical sounds and designs led him to the actual building of Oriental instruments, including two complete gamelans. This activity, in turn, led him to a consideration of the manner in which instruments are tuned, and of systems of intonation in use throughout the world in the past and present.
This disc unites works by two distinctly original American composers who, while maintaining their own identities, share many similarities. To begin with, both men live on the West Coast: Alan Hovhaness in Seattle, Lou Harrison just outside Santa Cruz, California. This is more than an accident of geography: the Eastern seaboard has been the traditional centre of American musical life and both Hovhaness and Harrison are, to a degree, outsiders. They follow no leaders, lead no followers. Yet such is the appeal of their work that they have brought the musical mainstream to them rather than bending their aesthetics to public or professional taste.
The group colloquially known as “the Standards trio” has made many outstanding recordings, and After The Fall must rank with the very best of them. “I was amazed to hear how well the music worked,” writes Keith Jarrett in his liner note. “For me, it’s not only a historical document, but a truly great concert.” This performance in Newark, New Jersey in November 1998 marked Jarrett’s return to the concert stage after a two year hiatus. Joined by improvising partners Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, he glides and soars through classics of the Great American Songbook including “The Masquerade Is Over”, “Autumn Leaves”, “When I Fall In Love” and “I’ll See You Again”.