I wrote this sizable review of the emusic.com album Inside Grace Cathedral by Paul Horn with Stephen Kent only to discover that I can only post a very short review there, apparently with with no paragraphs.
So, I’ll post my full review here:
I wanted to let people know that for most of the album, the track listings are off by one: so the 0:59 track 5 is actually “Kent Intro”, not track 4. Similarly, the 1:19 track 7 is really “Hedge Intro” and the 0:49 track 13 is “Kalimba Intro”. These tracks are strictly talking and may be omitted if you want to save yourself three downloads; there are other gaps in the concert anyway.
That said, Horn and Kent are both great musicians, so a good album is to be expected. Unlike Paul Horn’s other “Inside” albums, this is a live concert, and searching the net tells me this Grace Cathedral is in San Francisco and the concert is from October 7, 2005.
The first 4 tracks are Paul Horn playing solo flute in a manner similar to his other “Inside” albums.
In introducing Stephen Kent, Horn reveals that he first met him only several weeks prior. As they play together this kind of shows; it takes some exploration for them to really get into each others’ musical space. The first Horn/Kent duet is better than the second (track 12) because while the second introduces some percussion that Horn plays off of, in the first Kent coaxes a greater variety of sounds from his didgeridoo.
I hadn’t heard of Christopher Hedge before this album, but he certainly seems to be someone worth checking out.
Introducing Hedge (track 8), Horn says they will be doing live overdubbing. “We’ll build up a bed of sounds, and then we’ll play against it”.
That following piece (track 9) is in my opinion the weakest. It starts with some birdlike whistles and rattles which provide the looped base for the rest of the track. They are long loops that don’t provide a sense of rhythm, reminding me a bit of Brian Eno’s ambient landscapes of On Land.
In contrast I think that track 14, with Chris Hedge playing kalimba, is probably the best track. The kalimba playing is masterful, and Horn’s flute and sax, and Kent’s didg, blend perfectly.
The final track (is it Finale or Farewell?) involves audience participation: Horn has one half of the audience hum a note he provides with his flute, and the other half hums the note a fifth higher. They continue for the duration of the piece. It’s cool.
I’m torn whether to give this three or four stars. There are other works by both Horn and Kent you should probably get first (and probably other works by Hedge). Still, this is a very nice concert.