in days gone by, a star-crossed european concert organizer who attributed their successful recovery in a psychiatric hospital to listening to the 1970 alan silva celestrial communication orchestra recording -seasons- (BYG 42/43/44) made a personal appeal to alan silva to form a new orchestra. subsequently a new & presumably final silva CCO performed two concerts at the 2001 uncool festival in poschiavo, switzerland, whence these direful omens were procured. this was likely the last time an orchestra comprised entirely of musicians from the OG 1960s & ‘70s jazz avant-garde was ever assembled. ensuing generations of the avant-garde, needless to say, are valid, too, but nothing resembling the 2001 CCO will happen again in this world.
H.Con.Res.57 refers to a 1987 congressional resolution introduced by the late michigan congressman john conyers “respecting the designation of jazz as a rare and valuable national American treasure.” (but is the music on these 4 volumes the kind of jazz congressman conyers had in mind?) a slightly smaller but no less imposing version of the orchestra performed twice in america, 2003, at helen hills hills chapel in northampton & emmanuel church (newbury st) in boston.
the x4CD set, still available via eremite, contains photos by jacques bisceglia & writings & essays by byron coley, matthew goodheart, & ed hazell. the story of the homemade “treasure box“ the CDs were first made available in can be found online & on the @eremiterecords insta. congressman conyers resolution can be found online.
These remarkable albums were recorded over two concerts in May 2001 at The Uncool festival in Poschiavo, Switzerland. The odd title refers to a 1987 House of Representatives resolution introduced by Congressman John Conyers Jr of Michigan 'respecting the designation of jazz as a rare & valuable national American treasure.' The text of the resolution is performed on both concerts by Ijeoma Thomas & establishes a utopian context for these large-scale improvisations.
Silva assembled his orchestra well before the concerts to allow rehearsal time as well as personal space for the members to interact. A measure of the chemistry so developed is the 26 minute "Soon" on disc four of the series; this was a spontaneously composed & harmonized composition, & the only non-improvised element of these performances. All the rest were led & conducted live by Silva, who also played synthesizer. His gestures & body movements direct every parameter of the music: pitch, dynamics, tempo, & the density of sound. Suffice it to say that with so many players of this temperament, the sound is very dense indeed. These, though, are much better representations of the orchestra's potential than past recordings. Silva effectively disbanded the CCO in 1989 to concentrate on other projects. His eremite recordings with the Sound Visions Orchestra (see under Silva entry) was a return to this kind of work & clearly reawakened the bassist's interest in such projects.
The ensemble includes musicians who have been closely associated with the leader in other formations: Bobby Few was a member of the Center of the World (a quartet which also numbered Frank Wright & Muhammad Ali); Johannes Bauer had played with the bassist in Traditions; Kidd Jordan knew him from the TTT ensemble; Marshall Allen was a friend from Sun Ra days. Raphe Malik was ill & was replaced by Itaru Oki. Such close associations pay dividends.
Describing the music is almost impossible. So large are the sections of HR57 in its various incarnations that any generalization is impossible, but the sound has a strong, almost primitive quality which perhaps recalls Silva's association with Albert Ayler in his later days. The pun on 'Celestial' & 'Terrestrial' in the ensemble's name is telling; this is not entirely earthly fare, but it is not floating 'space' music either. However, just as Sun Ra learned a great deal from his association with Fletcher Henderson, so Silva isn't so very far from the great bandleaders of a later generation. If one can imagine the Albert Ayler group guesting with the Stan Kenton band, that isn't very far from reality. We have found these fascinating sets aurally 'difficult,' sometimes frustrating, but packed with moments of majestic power & even a certain frail beauty. As an assertion of jazz's authority & position in American culture, these four hours of music are unequalled, though some may find the whole package a hefty outlay.
An astonishingly beautiful object, even leaving aside the music inside, each copy of the strictly limited treasure box is unique. All 383 copies are hand-painted, making them instantly collectable artifacts as well as documents of some of the most powerful free music around. --Richard Cook & Brian Morton, The Penguin Guide To Jazz Recordings
released July 26, 2023
Silva: conduction & synthesizer
Marshall Allen: alto saxophone, flute, E.V.I.
Johannes Bauer: trombone
Joseph Bowie: trombone
Karen Borca: bassoon
Roy Campbell, Jr: trumpet & flugelhorn
Baikida Carroll: trumpet & flugelhorn
Daniel Carter: alto & tenor saxophone, b-flat clarinet, flute, trumpet
Joseph Daley: tuba & tenor horn
Bobby Few: piano
Edward "Kidd" Jordan: tenor saxophone
Jackson Krall: drums & percussion
Bill Lowe: bass trombone and tuba
Sabir Mateen: tenor & alto saxophone, clarinets, flute
Wilber Morris: bass
Itaru Oki: trumpet, oki trumpet
William Parker: bass
J.D. Parran: baritone saxophone, clarinets, wooden flute
Warren Smith: drums & percussion
Steve Swell: trombone
Ijeoma Thomas: vocals
Oluyemi Thomas: bass clarinet, c-melody saxophone, wooden flute
Francis Wong: tenor saxophone & flute
2001-05-24, The Uncool Festival, Le Prese, Poschiavo, CH
producers: Michael Ehlers & Silva
engineers: Gabriele Kamm & Paolo De Martini/Radio Svizzera
photography: Jacques Bisceglia
liner notes: Byron Coley, Matthew Goodheart, Ed Hazell