Couple Of Humming Birds

HENRY KUNTZ – Whirling Sun Visions

Subtitled “Multi-Track Works-In-Process Miniatures”, this is a collection of pieces for overlaid saxophones, vocals and exotic percussives, although the latter are not present in all the tracks. Kuntz appears very interested in the generation of ritualistic moods through the concurrence of different pulses, the presence of the Javanese gamelan adding evident metallic/melodic tints in episodes like the opening “Celestial Forest”. But if we pretend to be transported in a parallel dimension, this recipe leads to the magnification of an innocent-sounding density, a child playing with a series of reed instruments in a room full of clocks. The segments where only amassed saxes are featured are more comparable to the gathering of seagulls fighting for food on a beach, kind of a semi-chaotic superimposition of pattern-within-pattern designs which translates into a peculiar type of entrancement, a bunch of Poppy Nogoods who have had a few too many.


The simpler instrumentation (Chinese musette, Korean soprano recorder, bells and voice against “embellished” piano and bell wreath) makes for a straightforward path to the immediate understanding of the music, which grabs the attention via the obvious contrast between the respective approaches. We’re told that Paul Kuntz’s pianism has been partially influenced by people such as Cecil Taylor and Alice Coltrane besides “regulars” as Dave Brubeck and McCoy Tyner, but you won’t find no eruptions or cascades here. The structure of the large part of the pieces sees the piano underlining – typically quite calmly and evocatively – single strained notes and cried-out overtones halfway through forest calls and liberation of inner tensions. If, at times, this might generate the impression of a chance meeting with an overall sense of unglued parts and bizarre intrusions, one also clearly detects the feel of non-constriction by stylistic necessities, and appreciates the honesty that appears to drive the brotherly quest for unusual communication.

Humming Bird

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