The Persons

Live During Wartime

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

The Persons are a group created especially for this recording, and consist of cellist Ernst Reijseger, saxophonist Michael Moore, guitarists Danny Petro and Franky Douglas, James Royer on bass, and percussionist and dulcimer player Michael Vatcher. Recorded at a live gig by Radio Bremen, the music made by the Persons walks across many territories. The opener is a traditional Javanese melody, with Reijseger playing a recorder with Moore, who also plays a melodica. Those familiar with Jon Jang's "Butterfly Lover's Song" will get the idea of the haunting, otherworldly melody at play here. But this gives way to Moore's "Eternal Mourning," a dirgey, slightly funky sojourn though diminished minor-key tonal languages. The band plays as an ensemble, improvisation is sketched into these pieces in certain sections, but, for the most part, they stick to a compositional text. Speaking of text, texture is the key for understanding the music of the Persons. Reijseger's cello is a wonderful ballast to the guitarists and stands in sharp contrast to Moore's wonderfully warm tone on the saxophone. Here is edgy music played with the sharp corners rounded. While Moore wrote most of the material here -- and it ranges all over the place from the elegiac and pastoral to the greasy and funky -- there are pieces by Petro and Douglas that offer us a hearing at how different the guitarists hear the ensemble tonally. There is also another Javanese piece in the middle of the set that stands starkly in contrast to the one that opens the album. The Persons are/were a band that opened all the doors at once and played together as a band that understood that new music and modern composition can and should be engaging as living breathing communicable musical texts rather than spontaneous moments that become fossilized artifacts in collective musical memory never to be drawn on again. Inspirational.

blue highlight denotes track pick