Bud Shank describes his extended work Lost Cathedral as a "sound painting for quartet, percussion, and prerecorded tape." The genesis of the project began with an underground cavern, a cistern with a two-million-gallon water tank that had not been used since the 1930s. But the acoustic properties of the cistern (with reverb that can range anywhere from 30 to 72 seconds) fascinated the alto saxophonist, who led five other musicians down the ladder into it to experiment for hours, playing random notes into a recorder over a two-day stretch, with the leader conducting by flashlight when he wasn't playing; joining Shank are vocalist Jay Clayton, soprano saxophonist Dick Oatts, trumpeter Bobby Shew, trombonist Jiggs Whigham, and baritone saxophonist Bill Ramsay. He blended the prerecorded material into a concert with arranged material performed by a different group (pianist Dave Peck, bassist Chuck Deardorf, drummer Dean Hodges, and drummer Gary Gibson) in the Fort Worden Theatre, with the music from each location woven together and occasionally overlapping. The suite has multiple sections within each of the three movements, though it is hard to identify individual sections since there are only three long tracks. This ambitious project falls outside the usual labels for Bud Shank's music, as it hardly fits into any jazz subcategory. But Shank fans ought to search for this now unavailable CD before it becomes too hard to acquire.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden