Album Review

Goodman, Greg/ Gruntfest, John – “In This Land All The Birds Wore Hats & Spurs” – [Beak Doctor, The]

Thurston Hunger   2/21/2018   12-inch, A Library

Time travel on two sides, improv pairing split on
side A’s mid 1980’s vs side B’s 2008. Side A launches
with “Pure Mind” feeling like that flavor of raga jazz,
a few laps of alap, the Goodman’s piano circular and
Gruntfest’s sax centered within. The next piece “Great
Bird” almost rolls into Terry Riley territory. Still a
flowing, rolling, bubbling composition.

Flip the disk and 2008 flies in the window, Gruntfest
wings some phrases, and woodpecker sputter on the
reed. Goodman a few bars of simple chords, then dives
into the prepared piano pluckage and plumage. Act I
is a lot of peck and pluck. Moving into Act II some
of the waves of piano from the 80’s turn up and churn
up darker waters. Free jazz takes flight, screech and
scronk sax and eventually some furious bass clef work
by Goodman. Act II closes with zithery work under the
hood. If Act II was a battle, and at times it felt like
it, here Gruntfest and Goodman find common ground, it’s
not the soothing flow found in the flip side of their
youth. Side A had them united in the song itself, here
the song serves to unite their own unique talents,
so you get more sparks and fire, as opposed to the
cool ripples from their earlier work.
-Thurston Hunger

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