Heiner Stadler: Brains On Fire

If you’re a fan of left of center music, you’ll definitely want it. German-American Heiner Stadler was a composer/arranger/pianist who was part of the avant-garde music scene of the 60s and 70s. This 2 disc set includes material from his first a still fresh sounding Brains On Fire disc from 1973, as well as a collection of other sessions from 66 and ’73. The
music ranges from a duet between Dee Dee Bridgewater and bassist Reggie Workman (on a TWENTY MINUTE improvisation!) to a sparks flying big band session that lasts for 24 minutes. Most of the material focuses on a pair of smaller groups. A sextet with Jimmy Owens/tp, Garnett Brown/tb and Workman produce an exciting “No Exercise” while another one includes tenor saxist Joe Farrell for a free flying “The Fugue #2.” A quartet with Stadler, Tyrone Washington/ts-fl, Workman and Reggie White supply four tunes as well. All of the material has a sort of Mingusy feeling; the foursome on “Three Problems,” “Heidi” and “All Tones” mix down home blues with elastic and elliptical improfisations, turning a theme around on a dime. The big band “Bea’s Flat” is the most exciting and accessible piece, while the Bridgewater/Workman duet bends and snaps like salt water taffy. A definite disc for the adventurous listener.

Labor Records

Leave a Reply