CD: Turning Towards the Light
"A visionary large performance" - NY Times
"An incredible all star band" - Dan Ouellete / Zeal NYC
"A genuinely original, captivating, and interactive performance" - Village Voice
2015 Top 5 "Large Ensemble Release" – NYC Jazz Record
"Spacious, melodic, atmospheric, and at times raucous, Turning Towards the Light is ultimately a very pleasing listen for jazz, rock, and avant-garde fans, as well as all the guitar geeks out there." - Sea of Tranquility.org
"... a not-to-be-missed release. 4 ½ stars out of 5" - All About Jazz Italy - Adam Rudolph: Embracing the Eternal Light
CD Liner Notes
"On the shortlist for the best modern guitar record of the year is Turning Towards The Light [Cuneiform Rune 406], by Adam Rudolph's Go: Organic Guitar Orchestra. In part because it features ten of the most accomplished, forward thinking jazz guitarists in New York, which, when it comes to jazz, means the world. Rez Abbasi, Nels Cline, Liberty Ellman, David Gilmore, Miles Okazaki, Marco Capelli, Jerome Harris, Joel Harrison, Kenny Wessel, and Marvin Sewell, join Damon Banks on bass to form an ensemble unlike any you have heard. The odds this aggregation would become a noisy mess were long, but Rudolph's strong conception and lyrical conducting conspired to create glorious, surprisingly spacious music—and not just "guitar music."
- Guitar Moderne Magazine read more >
" **** The guitar ensemble merges a multitude of genres and stylizations, including Avant expressionism, folk and rock amid lofty jazz improvisation campaigns. Moreover, the musicians fuse subtle rhythmic ostinatos with gently ascending motifs and a myriad of tonal contrasts, where the acoustic element casts an organic tinge along with numerous solo spots and contrapuntal excursions. Consequently, the artists' scope of attack isn't relegated to a melee or cutting contest, as Rudolph's conduction mechanisms include free-flowing discourses and well-defined overtures."
- All About Jazz read more >
"Guitar orchestras are not all that uncommon around the world, but Adam Rudolph's ensemble is decidedly unlike any other. For one thing, the 11 musicians who perform on Turning Towards the Light are notable recording artists and bandleaders in their own right, who not only share an inquisitive spirit but clearly communicate on an intuitive level."
- Jazz Times read more >
"The cd is excellent and it's a great news for all guitar enthusiasts, here Rudolph applies all his influences and experiences ranging from ethnic music to the musical mechanisms behind the works of contemporary authors such as Messian, Carter, Ligeti, Bartok and above all Toru Takemitsu. A great record, I hope to see the complete Guitar Orchestra playing live!"
- NeuGuitars read more >
CD Liner Notes
Turning Towards the LIght CD liner notes by Raul da Gama
Editor (JazzdaGama) and author (The Unfinished Score: The Complete Works of Charles Mingus)
Adam Rudolph has many incarnations in which his genius unfolds. As a percussion rhythmist, he seemingly dips his hands into a vast and aether-like palette of colours, daubing the skins of his myriad hand drums. As a composer for his various ensembles (Moving Pictures, Hu Vibrational, and Go: Organic Orchestra), he designs intervallic rasa cosmograms and creates syntactic rhythm forms. Now in this recording Turning Towards The Light, with the Go: Organic Guitar Orchestra, he is seeking an even deeper truth, probing creativity to get at the mystery of mysteries; travelling through time to consult the elders and returning with the wisdom of old, renewed, formless as the void, breathing in and out the "Hu," the "Om" as the musician becomes the music, dazzling in the interminable dance of sonic architecture.
Rudolph has communed with the elders, engaging in musical discourses with Don Cherry, Jon Hassell, Sam Rivers, Pharaoh Sanders, Wadada Leo Smith, Fred Anderson, Muhal Richard Abrams, Ralph Jones, and a pantheon of other musicians with whom a whole literature of music was developed. Among the most sagacious of these was the multi-instrumentalist and griot, Yusef Lateef. It was through their enduring relationship of 25 years that Rudolph embraced the inspirational practice of Autophysiopsychic Music—"that which comes from one's spiritual, physical, and emotional self."
Adam Rudolph has travelled the world the past 4 decades—performing, studying, and collaborating with musicians like L. Shankar, Hassan Hakmoun, and Foday Musa Suso. He studied tabla for 15 years under the guidance of Pandit Taranth Rao. In 1977 Rudolph became engaged in trance ceremonies while living in Ghana. He became spellbound with the cosmography of the African diaspora. These experiences were poured into the molten mix of all that was stirring inside his being and poured out into the music that you hear today. In his studies and travels he learned to absorb and integrate a deep repertoire of world rhythms—many of which were learned where the earth glanced his feet. And so was born the subterranean confluence of the Balinese, Cuban, Ghanaian, Haitian, Hindustani, and Moroccan traditions, with American improvisational jazz drumming as the center. And a new language was then born, the cognitive science of which had no precedent. Rudolph soaked it all in; it percolated and he developed his own unique rhythmic entomology he called "Cyclic Verticalism," in which polyrhythms (used in African music) are combined with rhythm cycles (used in Indian music), which generates new forms. Using these elements in a spontaneous way, Rudolph found, created an "audio syncretic music fabric," meaning different people can be playing different parts against each other. This, in turn, allowed improvisers to move within their own time flow, but still orbit each other. Cyclic Verticalism played an essential role in the rhythm concept of all of Rudolph's compositional vehicles. The possibilities were now limitless.
Go: Organic Orchestra is Rudolph's ensemble that has become unique in its architecture and prototypical in its conducting system. In it he uses non-linear, diagrammatic approaches to realize the interpretation of his musical scores and also his improvisational conducting of anywhere from 15 to 75 musicians in performance. Since 2001 he has taught hundreds of musicians worldwide. Go: Organic Orchestra is a reflection of Rudolph's unique 21st century socio-political construct: one where art has relevance in life on multiple layers of being individually and as a community in the body-politic of this era. He also has a unique way of using the senses to experience sound in its transcendental state. His compositions are entirely new and they reference his aboriginality, as in becoming from the depths of his old soul. His palette references amber as the philosophy of color. Notes and sounds present themselves in the form and formlessness of matrices and cosmograms. His playground for his ensemble and indeed for himself is the sonic arena of hyperspace.
Rudolph's philosophy, perhaps the only aspect of himself that he will ever impose, politely speaking, on his improvising musicians, is to design their own constructs. When this happens, he will tell them, the music will sound like nothing else but itself, and the experience of it for us, as listeners, unique, and prototypical. Thus Rudolph becomes the lightning rod for the sound of that which he forms out of the sonic breath of his universe and, because of this impulse, the musical expressions of this orchestra are always in a constant state of becoming. True that these are captured within the constraints of a recording, but play the record more than once and you will find that the music flows as freely as a swirling eddy of water caught in a powerful vortex. It is important to understand this because Rudolph's scores are based on his Trinitarian concept: "Matrices," "Cosmograms," and "Ostinatos of Circularity." This puts the composer in a singular class of his own, composing music with unique interval systems and rhythm systems. It is music that captures the freshness of the moment, and is cultivated from impulse and intuition—music that comes from risking his life for every note. And this is what makes Adam Rudolph special.
In many respects, Turning Towards The Light seems to be an extended work destined to flow from the mind and the body of Adam Rudolph with his guitar orchestra. It seems to have emerged almost as painfully and joyfully as a child does from a womb, and the drama of the composition's birth is so real that not only can the ears experience its primal cry, but fingers it would seem can touch the skin of the sound and delight at its ethereal pulsating and palpitating softness. It is an extended composition of mini-concertos, created by weaving, as if by magic, a musical quilt of ever-changing texture and design. And whilst all this is taking place in the three visible, very tactile dimensions, the voice of individual guitars in their sung, annunciated, and various vocalastic incarnations—including their narratives, mythologies, and mystical melismas—seem to emerge from the fourth and timeless dimension! That the dimension of time should be stopped, then extended interminably by the various guitar voices, is the coup de grace of the work.
Adam Rudolph has always seemed to give notice of his ingenuity and singularity as a composer. To musicians associating with him and participating in his works, Rudolph has constantly challenged them to peel away established concepts and beliefs about the manner in which music is produced and consequently to be heard and seen. Accordingly his music presents a dramatic and exciting challenge to listeners as well. As a composer, like the modern day Pied Piper in the imaginary world of Hamelin, he seduces his listeners, beckoning them to an exciting, unfamiliar place where they can give themselves over to his music unconditionally as they listen with visceral physicality as they experience the sculpturesque, spectral nature of sound: his sound which seems to exist as five elements and four dimensions. In doing so, with magical dynamics, Adam Rudolph is able to create a music so forcefully present that it must be heard not just with the ears, but in some weird tactile sense, with the entire body and of course the soul as well. Here Mr. Rudolph becomes one of only a handful of composers and performers who are able to conjure this kind of cuboid experience—something that appears inspired by the Dogon, and among others the Tupinambá of Brasil, the Mbenga of the Baka people. Mr. Rudolph also belongs to the continuum that begat the great composers of the 20th century: Varese, Stockhausen, Messian, Takemitsu, and others. Out of this has come a work of immense significance.
In actual fact, Turning Towards The Light is a magisterial edifice with only a defined beginning, but no defined end…an all but continuous, epic musical journey that flows right out of the shrill bending sound of its first exquisite notes until its return to the aether from whence it came. The various sections of the suite—each reinforcing the composer's belief in the interconnectedness of all aspects of sound—are all woven in an endless warp of time. And so, with rare, almost singular ingenuity, Rudolph guides his score from out of its seemingly primitive, monophonic beginnings of "Sun Salutation" to an epic charge that takes place in a zone that can only be experienced with complete body and soul, preferably with eyes closed and fingers gently pressed together as in a Yogic mode. The reason: in what seems like a time-space continuum almost embodying the energy of e=mc2, the poetics of its composer is fused into the tactility of the music. Is it a Ba Banzele unravelling? A Balinese gamelan? A western orchestra? Its inspiration lies in all of these and yet it is, to be exact, a prototypical creation interpreted by an orchestra of our time. It speaks the call and response of the blues and the fascinating interaction between the voices of the guitars. The primordial dawn of heraldic stringed instruments reflecting the interminable dance of moments in time. It is the re-creation of the music of communion.
By the way, it was wholly appropriate that this recording was made during the winter solstice of 2014, a most auspicious time for adding a new palimpsest, Turning Towards The Light, to the eternal library of learning. Its sweeping epochal nature returns what it took from the veritable musical vortex and gives its essences back so that this new piece of music might be born again of proverbial vortices, an all-new turning toward the light resonating as one because we are all in it together. After all, Teamwork makes the Dream work.