Mark Weber | Six Times Around the Sun

SIX TIMES AROUND THE SUN

Zerx 080

Mark Weber — hubkaphone on all tracks

Dear Fellow Cult of the Hubcap Members,

Over the last 6 years I have been recording Hubkaphone duets with all you good people and finally I’m in the middle stages of mastering the CD.

Duets with Kazzrie Jaxen — piano, Alicia Ultan — viola, Patti Littlefield — voice, J.A. Deane — uni-flute and sampler, Beth Custer — clarinet, Lorenzo Sanguedolce — tenor saxophone, Bill Payne — clarinet, JB Bryan — alto sax, Lisa Polisar — flute

I am nearly ecstatic at how good it sounds and how far beyond it has catapulted my expectations. There is still quite some tweaking and massaging and twiddling to do on it, but wanted to alert you to its production.


It’s called SIX TIMES AROUND THE SUN (Zerx 080)

That’s a reference to how many years went into it. Stephen Schmidt is assisting me with the mastering and it’s coming along like a charm. 38 tracks. About 68 minutes. I intend to release it as a CDR in an unlimited edition of 200. Just for friends and confreres. I am blessed to have your friendship. — Mark Weber

All sessions at Studio 725, Albuquerque. All tracks unedited purely organic as they occurred. Release date: November 1, 2o11. Just a simple little record. No edits / no processing / no compression

1. Kazzrie Jaxen — piano — “Piano-Hubcap Duet #7” — October 22, 2o10 — (5:56)

2. Lisa Polisar — flute — “Flute-Hubcap Duet #2” — September 23, 2007 — (:39)

3. Bill Payne — clarinet — “Hubclar #10” — December 17, 2005 — (1:15)

4. JB Bryan — alto saxophone — “Improvisation # 1” — July 25, 2o11 — (3:54)

5. Alicia Ultan — viola — “Duet #12” — December 9, 2006 — (:58)

6. Patti Littlefield — voice — “Duet #2” — February 20, 2oo7 — (:54)

7. J.A. Deane — live sampling — “Duet #4” — January 13, 2007 — ( 2:04)

8. Beth Custer — clarinet — “Duet #2″ — December 26, 2006” — (:42)

9. Lorenzo Sanguedolce — tenor saxophone — “Duet #8” — January 24, 2011 — (1:55)

10. J.A. Deane — uni-flute — “Duet #4” — November 7, 2006 — (1:11)

11. Lisa Polisar — flute — “Flute-Hubcap Duet #8” — September 23, 2007 — (1:17)

12. Bill Payne — clarinet — “Hubclar #8″ — December 17, 2005” — (:59)

13. Kazzrie Jaxen — piano — “Boogie #3” — October 22, 2010 — (4:54)

14. Lorenzo Sanguedolce — “Duet #9” — January 24, 2011 — (1:57)

15. Beth Custer — clarinet — “Duet #6” — December 26, 2006 — (:54)

16. J.A. Deane — live sampling — “Duet #5” — January 13, 2007 — (1:42)

17. Lisa Polisar — flute — “Flute-Hubcap Duet #7” — September 23, 2007 — (1:27)

18. Alicia Ultan — viola — “Duet #7” — December 9, 2006 — (:20)

19. Patti Littlefield — voice — “Duet #1” — February 20, 2007 — (:53)

20. Kazzrie Jaxen — piano — “Piano-Hub Duet #6” — October 22, 2010 — (1:38)

21. J.A. Deane — live sampling — “Duet #7” — January 13, 2007 — (1:38)

22. Beth Custer — clarinet — “Duet #1” — December 26, 2006 — (:44)

23. Lisa Polisar — flute — “Flute-Hubcap Duet #1” — September 23, 2007 — (1:08)

24. Lorenzo Sanguedolce — tenor saxophone — “Duet #7” — January 24, 2011 — (2:32)

25. JB Bryan — alto saxophone — “Improvisation #4” — July 25, 2011 — (2:35)

26. Alicia Ultan — viola — “Duet #8” — December 9, 2006 — (:53)

27. J.A. Deane — uni-flute — “Duet #8” — November 7, 2006 — (:34)

28. Bill Payne — clarinet — “Hubclar #5” — December 17, 2005 — (2:43)

29. Lisa Polisar — flute — “Flute-Hubcap Duet #3” — September 23, 2007 — (1:37)

30. Alicia Ultan — viola — “Duet #11” — December 9, 2006 — (:34)

31. Kazzrie Jaxen — piano — “Piano-Hub Duet #4” — October 22, 2010 — (1:45)*toward end of track the calico 18-year-old kitty Geminy meows up at Kazzrie wanting some attention

32. Beth Custer — clarinet — “Duet #5” — December 26, 2006 — (:39)

33. Kazzrie Jaxen — piano — “Boogie #2” — October 22, 2010 — (2:30) *telephone rings in background, unanswered

34. Patti Littlefield — voice — “Duet #5” — February 20, 2007 — (1:14)

35. J.A. Deane — uni-flute — “Duet #6” — November 7, 2006 — (:53)

36. Beth Custer — clarinet — “Duet #4” — December 26, 2006 — (:36)

37. Alicia Ultan — viola — “Duet #3” — December 9, 2006 — (:33)

38. Kazzrie Jaxen — piano — “Piano-Hub Duet #5” — October 22, 2010 — (1:49)

This would be good music to paint by.

Background music while you painted abstracts or landscapes. Painted giraffes on the side of your car. Paint your fingernails. Paint over everything and start over again.

The title refers to the span of years that these recordings encompass. Six times we circled the Sun while these recordings were coming into existence. All the music was spontaneously improvised and composed within the moment, floating as we are, in space.

Even though we took this record through 6 versions of the production master we wound up going back to the raw tracks — we experimented with various compression(s) but they were not going to get the organic sound I wanted — so besides some minor manual adjustments to Loudness in some places and a little massaging of Left and Right channels, we decided for the most part to release this in the raw original form — in fact, in some cases we didn’t touch the hard Right and hard Left orientation of the tracks — SO, in a way, a person could take this CD and master it however they wanted. There was no compression used, which is unusual in a percussion record. This work was done at Fly On The Wall Studios on the mesa above the Santa Fe River by Steven Schmidt who rides the rapids of the Rio Grande in January and the Colorado River in August. I think he has those backwards.

Lisa Polisar | August 25, 2001 | Studio 725, Albuquerque | Photo by Mark Weber

All of the individual recording sessions up to Lisa Polisar’s (September 23, 2007) were mastered by Quincy Adams. He was too sick with cancer to work on Lisa’s, which is why you hear her session in glorious exaggerated stereo. (Q died on the last day of 2007.) The sessions would take place at my house (Studio 725) and then I’d take the recordings to Quincy to master. Each session was in the realm of one or two hours in length. None of this music has been released before, although, tracks from these sessions have found themselves on various other Zerx releases. Originally, I was working on a hubcap collage — Quincy and I worked on two of those for most of 2006 finally “realizing” it on February 14, 2007 released on ALBUZERXQUE Vol.27 as “Hubcap Narrative #1.” “HN #2” was more of a practice run at it, created concurrently with what became “HN #1.”

Then we started work on “HN #3” which incorporated words amongst the hubcap duets — I added the words at Quincy’s — merely words floating in between the duets, not over-dubbed — just a word or two, no sentences — it was in the experimental stages and was to be about 20 minutes in length just like “HN #1” but Quincy hung in as long as he could. So, “Hubcap Narrative #3” exists on the Zerx hard drive that is under a bookshelf these days. Never did finish it.

Jessa Fisher & Lorenzo Sanguedolce | January 24, 2o11 at Studio 725 | Photo by Mark Weber

You’ll note that track 16 actually begins with a sampled note, which comes before I play a note on the hubcaps, which is like putting the horse before the cart, but it’s a decision Quincy and I made in the editing and I live by my decisions.

The process of making the Production Master fell to Steven Schmidt and even the sequence fell to Steven as I read a magazine. I had already picked the first and second track but told him other than having the same artist too close together in the sequence I don’t think it really matters. I think we can convince ourselves that it does but that’s just the mind working overtime building up false temples. This record did not call for a dramatic or symphonic curve, it wasn’t about working toward a climax or denouement, it was about one long batch of individual duets all in a row.

As to Beth’s clarinet on this disk: Beth and her husband Federico were traveling through New Mexico during the holidays and we had them over for dinner or we went out to dinner, one. And later, we had a recording session and Beth borrowed my wife’s old Selmer Bb clarinet, as Beth wasn’t traveling with her instruments. Beth plays the entire clarinet family and is one of the great artists of arranging and clarinet out in San Francisco. Her records are very important. She works under the principle of constant rediscovery. She’s always fresh.

Kenny Davern giving Bill Payne some tips on a new fingering for high F | Kenny’s place in Sandia Park, New Mexico | December 16, 2005 | Photo by Mark Weber

I think when Lisa was born she arrived with a piccolo in her little hands. She was born into a family of music educators on Cape Cod and she eventually matriculated at the Harrt School of Music, Connecticut, (where Jackie McLean was a teacher)(majored in Flute Performance) then moved to Albuquerque 1992 – 2007 where she gigged as a jazz flutist and was also a member of my MW Poetry Band. She now resides in Oakland, California, and is still my first call flutist. We miss her presence close by. Lisa is also a mystery novel author and has a flute method book in print: STRAIGHT AHEAD — A Musician’s Guide to Learning Jazz and Staying Inspired. (Around Oakland she is known as Lisa Towles.)

Alicia was also born into a musical family, her sisters are all violinists and cellists and her father is Lloyd Ultan the post-modern composer. That makes Alician a post- post-modernist. No, that wasn’t a typo, I’ve been calling her Alician for so long I forgot why. She’s a post- and present member of the MW Poetry Band.

Mark Weber & JB Bryan | August 28, 2o11 | Photo by Janet Simon

Bill Payne has that liquid chocolate burnished chalumeau sound that only clarinets in the most accomplished hands ever deliver. Same with Beth Custer. (I spent too many years listening to John Carter to listen to anything other than this sound.) The clarinet demands its full attention and both Bill and Beth focus all their powers upon it.

Patti has sang karaoke with Joni ( ! ) and is a jazz singer around Albuquerque and hails from Oklahoma but has lived in NYC and LA and some other places God only knows about. That was purely her idea to gurgle through a straw. She’s my cuz.

Lorenzo is a student of Connie Crothers and speaks four languages and has toured Europe with pianist Carol Liebowitz and is an elliptical sideways inside out thinker. Dynamic action.

JB is in possession of what the Buddhists call Beginners Mind. Would that we all could have that mind set. He is the publisher/editor of La Alameda Press and is the graphicologist for the Outpost Performance Space and is a painter of things only bees can see. (see JB’s design for Connie Crothers’ CD LIVE AT THE STONE.)

This is not the first hubcap record Dino and I have made. Way back in 1998 we made VEHICLE VORTEX VERTIGO which was a live performance for an art show opening where we played for five hours! I also used the hubkaphone in performance with our band The Bubbadinos. Dino and I have knocked out hundreds of projects together — performances, CDs, radio shots, and innumerable sessions untold, as yet — we were responsible for the Todd Moore magnum opus DILLINGER on Zerx Records.

 

 

Kazzrie Jaxen and her beloved Delaware River, Callicoon, New York, August 7, 2o11 | Photo by Mark Weber

Kazzrie Jaxen and her beloved Delaware River, Callicoon, New York, August 7, 2o11 | Photo by Mark Weber

Kazzrie Jaxen hails from another planet as yet undiscovered in the universe. I think it is Perelandra (see C.S. Lewis 1943 novel) where very pleasant god-like people welcome you and feed you only the foods you need and take you to restful places next to rivers and swim in languid blues and greens and the trees all listen to you recite Rumi poetry and the roads twist and unravel through little valleys and villages and the dogs all speak English and you can have chocolate cookies all day long. Where manifestations of evil have never found a home.

As much as I owe to Henry Threadgill for his development of the hubkaphone my sound is completely different from what he took from it. I like a quiet, smooth, round sound. I’m the Paul Desmond of the hubkaphone. I’m not sure how Henry set up his hubcap array, but I borrowed the modular constructions that I had used when I was a member of the local gamelan orchestra (Gamelan Encantata under the direction of Jenny DeBouzek). My sound is more akin to what John Cage achieved in his 1946 “Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano,” almost a hollow, ancient, distant, bell tone that rings clear and translucent, like Gerry Mulligan says: “I like a sound you can see through.”


Alicia Ultan & Patti Littlefield | November 10, 2o11 | Photo by Mark Weber

Some of the patterns used I’ll call “3 + 1” or “4 + 1” where I do a repeat rhythm figure of 3 and the plus note is randomly changed. Easy. I don’t exactly go to what is known as groove, at least, not in the traditional manner. I like to break patterns, not out of contrariness, but simply because I see the patterns in randomness. The time feel is what Bobby Bradford calls “rubber band time,” it expands and contracts. Although, you could probably make an argument that it’s all strongly related to 4, being that I am particularly hard-wired to 4/4. Or, as saxophonist Bill Plake says: “multiples of 2.”

Whatever it is, it’s not that complicated, mostly fun, like Horace Silver says, it’s the complicated music that’s easy to write, the simple stuff takes a little more time to get it right.

Mark Weber & J.A. Deane | September 25, 2011 | Photo by Janet Simon

SO, we continue to circle the Sun and the hubkaphone experiments continue to unfold (recent session here at 725 with guitarist Adam Caine and drummer Federico Ughi) and we continue to morph and reinvent ourselves — Kazzrie after years of study with Lennie Tristano — J.A. Deane in the horn section of Ike & Tina Turner (he’s on NUTBUSH CITY LIMITS) and many years with Butch Morris and even a little shot with Anthony Braxton — Bill Payne fourteen years on the road with Ringling Brothers Barnam & Bailey Circus — Alician backing up Linda Ronstadt — Lorenzo gigging with Michael Bisio — JB in his adobe tea house in the Sandia Mountains — Beth crossing the Golden Gate to play with her notorious clarinet choir — my esteemed Kindred Spirits of the Hubcap circling the Sun.

—Mark Weber | November 17, 2o11


Steven Schmidt at Fly on the Wall Studios, Santa Fe | October 22, 2o11 | Photo by Mark Weber

13 Comments

  1. Hello Fellow Hubcap Devotees . . .
    I just found “6 Times Around the Sun” in my mailbox — sat down and listened straight through — lovely, hilarious, deep, spacious, wild, poignant, breathtaking, mind-boggling, hip, seriously fun — you’ve created a narrative hubcap poem, Mark — a Hubcap Universe — each track a different galaxy — thrilled to be part of it — wonderful to hear everyone — had an instant vision spring to mind — a concert — all of us onstage — music springing forth from different locations — swirling around a central hub . . .
    Beautiful mastering, Mark and Steve,
    A long slow bow and a big wide smile,
    Kazzrie

  2. “6 times around the sun” has been in heavy rotation in my van, where I do most of my listening these days!!!

    From the beginning of the Albuzerxque series of recordings I have always enjoyed the interesting mix of artists that Big Web has picked and sequenced from CD to CD.

    This is like an Albuzerxque compilation with the theme of the Hupcaphone (“American Gamelan” if you will) and Weber has been a champion of the instrument probably since he first saw Threadgill playing one with AIR back in the 70’s.

    One of the things I like the most about this Cd is the sequencing and how the journey unfolds from duet to duet, a wonderful ride.

    I am very happy to be on this document of DUETS in HUBCAP with all of you…..great mastering by Steven as well….later…..dino

    I will leave you all with one of my all time favorite Weber Quotes (a spontaneous statement he made one day as we were driving in his truck)

    “Dino, I had an epiphany!
    I realized that an epiphany
    is something you should
    already know.”
    =

  3. Lorenzo Sanguedolce

    November 10, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    yeah, i’m hiding out in the woods of kentucky. but now i have something else to look forward to coming home too!

  4. mark, 6 times around the sun is one of your best cd’s.

    really, it’s incredible.

    thanks

    r

  5. Awesome presentation – thanks for the audio samples. Photography is awesome too. How does one find this in their mailbox?

  6. Mark,
    This is very beautiful….I had no Idea…..love your reference to Desmond….(I listened to no one else in the early sixties)

    Thanks for sending me this….hope to hook up soon….Charley

  7. Speaking of Henry Threadgill, his present group Zooid came to Albuquerque last year and they and their new two-volume CD are incredible. This is my favorite Threadgill music of his career. I love how the music seemingly never resolves, like it’s built on whole tone scales or diminished chords, something. I listen to the CDs quite often.

    As much as I liked his trio Air, they always seemed like an outgrowth of the much more interesting Revolutionary Trio.

    Henry Threadgill has really found something with this music for Zooid. I have long been a follower of all things AACM — who can match the glory of AEC in the 1970s?

  8. A NOTE ON THE CONCEPT OF BREVITY AND THE SHORTNESS OF TUNES

    It was Dino back in our Bubbadino days that put the bug in my ear about short tunes. Dino was part of the crowd that played CBGBs in the 70s and he admired the recordings of the Ramones and told me that they’d do one-minute tunes on their records. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard the Ramones but that idea tripped me out and stuck with me. Closest I’ve ever been to CBGBs is The Bowery Poetry Club down the street. (I always look up in the sky when I’m on Third Avenue and imagine the Elevated that ran through there for years and all the vaudeville theatres and burlesques that had to compete with the noise of those trains.)

    I like the idea of compacting everything you have to say in a short space. Brevity.

    I remember composer/professor at University of New Mexico, Chris Shultis, telling me how a member of the music department faculty was reticent to accept a short composition by one of the students as their masters project, that it was felt if was of insufficient length, and that the student’s current body of work was so small. My good friend Chris said: “So, I guess this department wouldn’t graduate Webern, either?”

    (Anton Webern’s entire corpus fits on 3 CDs.)

  9. Even though I usually conform to the Henry Threadgill spelling of Hubkaphone, about 15 years ago I almost wavered when Bill Plake started calling it the Hubcap-O-phone. I think he still calls it that.

  10. Big Web asked me to bring my live-sampling rig over to the house one day to do some playing. I was running LiSa on a macbook and decided to bring a flute along as well. As I recall we did a number of duets that day, some with Weber on hubcaps with me doing live-sampling, some with me on flute, a bunch with Mark on hubcaps and me live-sampling a recording of Todd Moore reading some of his poems and some with Mark reading his poems and me on piano. Mark and I always manage to create allot of work when we go into the studio together.

  11. Actually, the uni-flute sessions and the sessions with the live sampling were two separate sessions — like I said, Dino and I have a LOT of sessions in the can. You can see the dates (above).

  12. ARE THERE DEFINITE NOTES ON THE HUBKAPHONE?
    Well, Q and I once tried putting the spectrum analyzer on the various hubcaps to discern what the tones might be, but it turned out to be very difficult. Curiously, the hubcap notes sound definite, but not according to the spectrum analyzer. Ultimately, the overtones are so multifaceted that it was not possible to peg them down. So, we content ourselves by calling them “indeterminate notes.”

  13. Jazzed Reducer
    By Mel Minter

    On 6 Times around the Sun, hubkaphonist Mark Weber presents an abundant collection of strange and wonderful music, teaming up with nine adventurous musicians on 38 improvised duet tracks recorded over six years.

    A percussive instrument invented by saxophonist/flautist Henry Threadgill, the hubkaphone is a marimba-like instrument that, instead of wooden blocks, uses hubcaps from various automobile makes, models and years, suspended in a wooden frame and struck with mallets. The instrument sounds like a cross between a giant mbira, an Asian bell and cymbals.

    On this recording, Weber used six metal hubcaps picked up from the side of the road in various places. Another, made of plastic, is suspended separately. He selects these discs based on their sonic properties, tending to favor a round sound. (The plastic one makes a useful and distinctive thud, perfect for punctuation).

    Weber’s collaborators represent a variety of genres, from jazz to experimental to classical to R & B. With nowhere to hide, they accept their nakedness with aplomb, delivering everything from spare musical haiku that continues to resonate long after the track has ended, to dense explorations that overwhelm the earways. On one track, Alicia Ultan creates an entire world in seconds with spare visceral scratchings across her viola’s strings. On another, uniflutist and sampling wizard J.A. “Dino” Deane explodes a galaxy in an eight-minute sound storm. Pianist Kazzrie Jaxen constructs elaborate and compelling instant jazz compositions. Saxophonist JB Bryan offers up laconic blues of beguiling, almost Zen-like simplicity. Vocalist Patti Littlefield wordlessly plumbs uneasy emotional territory. Also joining Weber are flutist Lisa Polisar, clarinetists Beth Custer and Bill Payne, and saxophonist Lorenzo Sanguedolce.

    The recording sessions typically lasted about 90 minutes, and Weber’s only direction to his collaborators was to aim for brevity and to play pointillistically, à la the compositions of German composer Stefan Wolpe. For his part, Weber manages a delicate balancing act, sometimes leading, sometimes following, establishing patterns and disrupting them. Occasionally, as on Track 4 with Bryan, he seems to be translating his collaborator’s utterances into a different language, as though interpreting for an audience from another musical world.

    Mel Minter – Alibi – Nucity Publications, Inc. 413 Central NM, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102

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