Bradshaw Pack

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The first in the "composers series" produced by the adventurous Canadian label Spool and issued to initiate its "Point" productions featuring the works of composers, this recording highlights works written by the highly creative artist Bradshaw Pack from 1997 through 2000. Drawing on three Vancouver-based collectives, and the pianist, David Maggs, Pack focuses on what might be categorized as modern chamber music with an avant-garde twist. Those who are unfamiliar with Pack's work and who enjoy the modern, exciting recordings for which the Spool label is known might be surprised at the classical music roots. That should not deter listeners, though, as Pack is an innovative and sometimes thrilling writer who draws on late 20th century innovations. The performing groups include such splendid performers as clarinetist Francois Houle, cellist Peggy Lee, and drummer Dylan van der Schyff, each of whom has made his mark on other recordings for the label. While it is unclear whether individual improvisation is part of Pack's creations, this is music that pulls the listener into its fold, rewarding those who focus closely on its parts. The individual sections for clarinet, piano, percussion, and strings are particularly compelling, filled with fascinating, though often subtle, detours.

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