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[CP 294 CD] Joan Wildman Trio; Orphan Folk Music, Under The Silver Globe, Inside Out

Creel Pone

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November 2023; this double-disc set of the entirety of the issued music (as an LP, a Cassette, & then a CD; completing the trifecta) recorded by the trio of Joan Wildman (Piano, Yamaha DX-7; hear me out), Hans Sturm (Bass), & Dane Richeson (Drums) has been kicking around in concept-land for some time, first as a [CP 199.XX] title (the votes from the CABAL have come in both numerous & vocal) & then as a [CP 221.XX] "Composer Portrait" (which is relateively unfair given the group dynamic) but as with so many these days, my final-vote VETO powers & resolve have softened considerably after living with this material for a few years (and after the Jan Beran title, [CP 218 CD] wore down my resistance of the "Devil's Xylophone") & here it is, finally, in the series-proper. 

Joan Wildman (1938-2020) grew up in Nebraska, relocated to Madison, Wisconsin in the late 70s & spending the majority of her career teaching at the Mead Witter School of Music (alongside the legendary jazz bassist Richard Davis). She sporadically appeared on record throughout the 80s (notably alongside Richard Lottridge & Robert Cole on Roscoe Mitchell's 1987 Lovely Music outing "Four Compositions") but it was within the confines of her trio that she was free to explore the variable-operator timbres & programming-confines of the aforementioned Digital FM Synthesizer, E-Mu Emax Sampler, & later, a series of bespoke Computer Software solutions.

The 1987 (again, working well outside of the usual de rigeur C.P. confines) "Orphan Folk Music" LP dovetails gorgeous, flowing, modal forms played on piano with increasingly erratic synthesized timbres; her deft touch in patch-design & real-time operator manipulation is instantly striking on the DX-7 cuts, and this emphasis is only stronger on the record's follow-up, "Under The Silver Globe" where any semblance of "Jazz" gets rewritten on the fly in favor of, frankly, a bizarre aesthetic closer to video-goblin soundtracks (it's easily my favorite of the three). By the trio's final outing, "Inside Out" (which FYI closes with "Chant for Duo: Synthesiser and Bass") the intent to straddle the divide between so-called "Loft Jazz" & a kind of outside-of-genre approach to Digital timbre-wrangling has been eroded somewhat.

This C.P. replica edition presents all of the detail from all three titles across 6 "Glossy" pabels (with the liners borderline legible in micro-miniature across the inner 3). An absolutely fascinating set of music bleeding the edges between and beyond.