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It's not exactly made clear in the packaging and notes, but this appears to be the first item in what would seem to be a massive series leading up to the bicentennial of Haydn's birth in 2032. How will music be acquired in 2032? Will it be directly transferred to the brain from the neurocloud? Be that as it may, the historical-instrument group Il Giardino Armonico and its leader Giovanni Antonini make one curious to hear what's coming down the pike. The plan is to place Haydn in a "thematic dialogue with other composers."
Despite his failing health, Blackwell's skills on his drum kit were razor-sharp when he got on the bandstand for this headliner's gig at the third annual Eddie Moore Memorial Jazz Festival, recorded at Yoshi's in Oakland, CA. just two months before he passed away. Everything clicks – the band is tight, powered by the supple bass of Mark Helias, while saxophonist/flutist Carlos Ward and trumpeter Graham Haynes play inspired, almost possessed improvs and written lines, bent on giving the audience their best, and Blackwell the proper setting to weave his percussive wizardry. First up are pieces written by Ward. "'Nette," sporting a bright unison horn line, suggests Monk's angularity and Ornette Coleman's interval-leaping vision of expansion.