Wayne Horvitz Gravitas Quartet: Way Out East

Bob Burnett: A friend of mine called me a bit back. After years of playing many different instruments he decided at age 50 to take up the trumpet. He stressed he wanted to approach the instrument from a different direction and mentioned how taken he was in the late '70s when Jon Hassell worked with Brian Eno to create Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Music. We discussed how that music had a "non-blowing" quality to it; the trumpet became a soft, ambient space creator. I understood what he meant because I’d been spending time listening to Ron Miles' understated trumpet on Way Out East.

Granted, this album has little in common with the sonority of the Hassell/Eno project, but it's a very interesting coming-together of a quartet. (Wayne Horvitz, piano; Ron Miles, trumpet; Peggy Lee, cello; Sara Schoenbeck, bassoon.) They make it happen vividly with elegant improvisations mixed with very Americana-styled traditional reflections—very similar at times in feel to what Aaron Copland created in work such as "Quiet City." Yeah, I feel it in this one: Aaron Copland...and Elliot Carter...bringing their worlds into one singular space via this quartet. This really is a great, successful experiment. The Gravitas Quartet could have easily been a mess in the hands of meeker participants. I love the constant curiousity this music creates. This quartet is connected in terrific ways.

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