Gunter Hampel & His Galaxie Dream Band

Celestial Glory

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Mad vibist, reedist, and composer Gunter Hampel was at it again on this recording, done live at the Knitting Factory with his usual collaborators (or conspirators in this case), clarinetist Perry Robinson and saxophonists Mark Whitecage and Thomas Keyserling. But this time out there was something different: the free swinging, chilling, and spilling voice of vocalist Jeanne Lee to add even more texture and color to Hampel's already excessive mix. So that's right -- four horns and a singer. Whew! Three pieces are between 15 and 20 minutes each and all of them hit the boundary of where earth meets sky. Lee is just what the doctor ordered for this band, and Hampel, surrounded by such fine horn players, was free to delve rather deeply into his own vocal construct, the vibraphone, and makes it sing. Complete improvisation surrounds Hampel's compositions, they are impossible to identify individually, and they are all captured by one romantic notion (from the period, not the emotion). They are all are continuously reaching works; they begin with a note or a tonal cluster and, before you know it, their collective textures are reaching, reaching, reaching, ever hungry, ever wanton, ever unsatisfied with where they are, always looking beyond the beyond for something that will make them stop and give them rest. Thank God they haven't found it yet.

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