Gregg Keplinger, Reuben Radding, Wally Shoup - LOST VALENTINE
When I sat down to listen to this (other than th' trio photo on th' jacket), I had no idea what would transpire... which is sorta' what one comes to expect with anything that includes Wally Shoup. He handed it to me for possible review right after his performance at this year's Olympia Experimental Music Festival... how lucky for my ears! Old saxers never fade - they just blow away... Shoup's reeds on Valentine 1 demonstrate how timeless his playing can be... th' whole cut is a powerhouse.... Kepliner's drums are not just "in time", they are driving time... Radding's bass lines are far more than just "support".... this trio knows what they have to say and don't mince any words! I'm sure th' crowd noise (live recording) helped to fuel my ears for th' listen, but th' prime force was sheer energy! If you enjoy music that challenges (whatever) boundaries folks have tried to impose, & want to hear something new/different, improvised from th' deepest regions of this trio's soul, this comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! An all out GREAT improv recording!
1 2 3
Track Listing: 1; 2; 3
Personnel: Gregg Keplinger - drums; Reuben Radding - bass; Wally Shoup - alto saxophone
Two words are often bandied about when it comes to describing improvised music: free and outside. Much can go on between those descriptives. The music that flows can be interesting or an assault on sensibility and on logic. It all depends on the perception of the musicians. Gregg Keplinger, Wally Shoup and Reuben Radding have long been active in Seattle and in New York. Each has been part of the free jazz scene and has absorbed other influences, including rock and blues. They bring it all together most effectively as they hit the high road to this exciting performance, recorded live at the Sunset Tavern in Seattle. The first tune careens in on Keplinger's drumming, the rhythm intense. When Shoup coils in, his alto describes tensile arcs around the beat. Shoup's tonality, the changes he weaves in and the thrust he imparts impact strongly. He changes shape constantly as he dips into the lower register or squawks and wails to light a fire under every note. Radding gets his due and he bows in with tensile, edgy patterns. The tempo slows down on the next but the strong, knotty undercurrent is still manifested. Radding bows thick notes, Keplinger uses some percussion but Shoup is taut and stretched, and as he goes in to break up the lines with short blasts, the bass whorls underneath. But repose serves only to lull momentarily, and the dynamics soon erupt into volatile movement. They bring in an introspective, bluesy disposition on the last, but they can't help but get into overdrive. Nevertheless they ride out an electrifying evening plausibly. Their disparate tendencies have had a positive impact.
LOST VALENTINE, 1 2 3, SOLDISK 1221.
1. / 2. / 3. 43:26.
Gregg Keplinger, d; Reuben Radding, b; Wally Shoup, as. 12/2/01, Seattle, WA.
The trio Lost Valentine plays three enthusiastic tunes propelled by the drums of Keplinger, the bass of Radding, and the alto saxophone of Shoup. Keplinger is a power drummer; he emphatically punctuates every paragraph of this eruptive dissertation with forceful blasts of energy. The music has a gritty sound emanating from the robust blowing of Shoup, who produces a unique reed tone from his instrument. Add the non-stop pulsating marathon gushing from Radding's bass, and one has music with muscle to spare. The three lengthy tunes were recorded at a West Coast tavern where the audience was vocally enthusiastic about what was going down. The program evolves as a joint, spontaneous example of collective, wideopen improvisation, although the players are featured singly at selected spots. Shoup's birthplace was North Carolina, but he has been a fixture on the Seattle creative music scene since 1985. His performance with this group is dynamic. He explodes continuously with rounds of free-flowing current gushing from his horn. At times, as on "2.," a sense of anger is perceived from Shoup's aggressive, guttural attack of the alto. The bombs burst all around him as Radding goes on a tear and Keplinger adds additional fuel to the ever-growing fire. Keplinger's solo on "2." is in keeping with the volatile nature of the set; he hurls spears of fire to sustain the already-raging and inflamed environment. Radding uses the bow effectively to fan the rampaging blaze to even greater temperatures. Even with the slower pace taken on the first section of "3." the force of this unit sweeps the stage. There is nothing timid about this trio's approach, which represents a potent dose of collective artistry. Frank Rubolino, Cadence, October 2004
Lost Valentine/Acoustic Reign Project
Drummer and producer Jack Gold is the founder of the independent label Sol Disc, which gives a recording outlet to many musicians of Seattle's creative scene. Two of Sol Disc's recent releases, both produced by Gold, come from Lost Valentine and Acoustic Reign Project. Lost Valentine is a power trio formed by Greg Keplinger (drums), Rueben Radding (double bass) and Wally Shoup (sax). In their debut, that was recorded live, they release tons of energy that springs raw from the three acoustic instruments. Under Keplinger's sweeping beat and the heavy yet brisk steps of Radding who explores the dark side of his bass, Shoup's raucous alto shoots with incredible power bursts of explosive phrases. Radding is also the bassist in the Acoustic Reign Project, a quartet led by Jack Gold (Sol Disc's founder). The other members of the quartet are trumpeter Jim Knodle and sax player Brian Kent. All of the album's tracks are collectively composed and how else could it be since in fact they are collective improvisations. The sound is full of lyricism and compared to Lost Valentine's is less raw. Knodle and Kent have elaborated many themes and they have been well practiced in the question and answer game. Radding has a great variety in his playing and uses the bow in a very inventive way, while Gold avoids outbursts creating a solid polyrhythmic base. The album's best track is the 20-minute long "Heat," with the contribution of Roger Fisher - former guitarist of the famous rock group Heart initially on acoustic guitar (a rather unusual instrument for free jazz) and then on electric guitar. Concluding both albums are worth checking (available through internet of course) and offer enough evidence of the independent Sol Disc's nice work and the North West Coast big city's musical power.
Vangelis Aragiannis, Apopsy, March 2005, Greece