Marty Ehrlich's Dark Woods Ensemble: Emergency Peace
Liner Notes   Cat. No. 80409     Release Date: 1991-01-01

Marty Ehrlich, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, alto sax; Abdul Wadud, cello; Lindsey Horner, bass; Muhal Richard Abrams, piano

"Everything that has dark sounds, has duende." This quote from an essay by Federico García Lorca has stayed with me for years. Lorca defines duende as the power that art can have to reach past the obvious, the self-conscious, the superficial. It is a sensibility that hides from facile technique and shuns direct repetition.

At times the sounds of the clarinet, the vibrations of its dark wood, help me reach a place that seems most expressive among the instruments I play. Although I use here the flute and saxophone as well, the blend of clarinet with strings is the core sound of this ensemble, whether that blend is extended or contrasted. As "Dark Woods" is descriptive of our instrumentation, I hope it is also suggestive of something essential we've brought to light.

Emergency Peace evokes a feeling music can give. The more the concept of peace is used in explicitly absurd ways by societal leaders, often in the service of the call to arms for another emergency war, the more it grows in immediacy as an imperative in one's imagination. My roots in this music are in a time when changes in art and in society were dynamically intertwined. Though the link of cause and effect can grow less clear, I believe these desires for change remain consistent and related.

Most of my compositions on this recording have evolved over time, waiting for the needed experience to bring them to completion. "Charlie in the Parker" and "The Painter," by Muhal Richard Abrams and Julius Hemphill respectively, are works, part of two composers' musics, that have long inspired and challenged me. Music that uses spontaneous composition (improvisation) in its makeup, as all but one piece on this recording do, is social in dynamic. I've tried to create a context in which the participants can create (to loosely quote from composer George Lewis) without feeling tradition, or the avant-garde, peering nervously over their shoulders.                                                                                                           —Marty Ehrlich

Marty Ehrlich's Dark Woods Ensemble

Marty Ehrlich's Dark Woods Ensemble: Emergency Peace

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Track Listing

Emergency Peace
Marty Ehrlich
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Dusk
Marty Ehrlich
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The Painter
Julius Hemphill
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The tucked sleeve of a one-armed boy
Marty Ehrlich
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Unison
Marty Ehrlich
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Double Dance
Marty Ehrlich
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Circle The Heart
Marty Ehrlich
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Charlie in The Parker
Muhal Richard Abrams
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Tribute
Marty Ehrlich
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