Legends and Legacies II

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Legends and Legacies II - CD front Design
Legends and Legacies II

Press Release

Credit: The New York City Jazz Record
Legends and Legacies II section - May 2023 The New York City Jazz Record

Legends and Legacies II

Francis Wong
(Asian Improv)

Avenue 64

William Roper/Cassia Streib/Tim Feeney
(Infrequent Seams)

by Steven Loewy

These two recordings, Legends and Legacies II
and Avenue 64, the first issued as a CD and the
other as a cassette tape, share Los Angeles-based
tubist William Roper, but they are as different as
two sets of music could be. In his late 60s, Roper
continues to have an active schedule as a multidisciplinary
performer; he’s still adding to his now
sizeable discography (more than 60 recordings as
a sideman, and more than a dozen as leader or coleader).
Legends and Legacies II, by tenor saxophonist
and West Coast icon Francis Wong, is a loose
sequel to Legends and Legacies (2006), though with
different instrumentation and concept. The only
players in common are Wong and Roper. Legends
and Legacies II is a pleasant but adventurous romp
through a range of moods, divided into three
sections: “The Fire This Time” swings hard, with
scintillating tuba and saxophone solos and a
strong beat; “Beyond the Bridge” (parts A through
D); and “Corners” (in six parts). With a front line
of three reeds and Roper on tuba, and “small
instruments”, plus Tatsu Aoki (bass, shamisen)
and Kioto Aoki and Melody Takata (taiko), there’s
plenty of diversity. Percussive sounds and strong
rhythms permeate the music, while the shamisen
and taiko give it an Eastern flair. On “Beyond
the Bridge C”, Roper’s tuba and Tatsu Aoki’s
shamisen interact closely; the shamisen and drums
then build an attractive groove after the tubist
drops out. Roper’s spoken word contribution to
“Corners 5” pleads for a move somewhere “over
the rainbow”, with some great tuba phrasing on
“Corners 3”.
Avenue 64, a limited edition cassette release,
is a very different animal. The players use lots
of small instruments, such as wine glasses,
bones and beaks, while a viola tempers the
clamor. Each of the three musicians contributes
one composition. Cassia Streb transcribed field
recordings for “A park, a train, and a secondary
highway”, while the musicians responded to their
visual presence in the studio. This 20-minute
group improvisation is filled with electronics and
small sounds, with occasional squeaks and other
noise, making it difficult to pick out individual
instruments. Tim Feeney contributes “Another
Pattern”, with repetitive pulsing percussive
sounds, bells, scratchy long sounds, low-pitched
stutters, swooshes, flutter tones and occasional
viola. The piece employs “fragmented, disjointed
or maddeningly unfinished” ideas from a journal
Feeney kept, joining them together and layering
them. Roper contributes “The Day Moved”, a
spoken word piece, which he narrates over a noisy
clamor. It is not easy listening, and there is lots
of percussion, plucked strings and commotion.
Roper’s tuba, which roars over it all, is one of the
track’s highlights.
For more info visit asianimprovrecords.com and
infrequentseams.bandcamp.com