George Lewis

Endless Shout

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Endless Shout is interesting for the variety of compositional/improvisational styles it presents (not to mention the various moods and approaches) as well as the satisfying array of instrumentation, including a solo piano piece and a trombone/electronics work. Although the release focuses on Lewis' role as composer, it also features a good amount of his trombone skill, specifically on the closing piece "Voyager." Endless Shout opens with a lengthy 1996 composition during which percussion accompanies broken up and repeated samples of Quincy Troupe reading his poem "North Star Boogaloo." The next piece pays homage to Harlem stride piano greats (including James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, and Willie "the Lion" Smith) and boogie-woogie piano greats (Pete Johnson, Meade Lux Lewis) through a personalized reinterpretation of blues utterance. This, the title track, is performed by pianist Sarah Cahill, who has, in Lewis' own words, "given a number of important performances of the piece." The version of "Shadowgraph 4" is a 1997 revision of a 20-year-old group of works that combine composition and improvisation strategies, performed here by the skilled NOW Orchestra. The final work is the 1995 revision (and live recording) of 1987's "Voyager," an improvised interaction between Lewis' trombone and music-generating computer programs.

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