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Uri Caine : Agent Orange. Caine, Liebman, DJ Olive, Hanson.
Format : 1 CD Digipack
Total Time : 00:45:13

Label : Winter & Winter
Catalog No. : WIN910286-2
EAN : 0025091028627
Price Code : DM022A

Publishing Year : 2022
Release Date : 05/04/2023

Genre : Classical
Uri Caine (1956-)
Premonitions
Agent Orange
The Separation of the Children
Fine People on Both Sides
Upside Down Bible
Bleach Blues
The Lies of the Lost Cause
Civil War Fugue
On the March
An Uncertain Fate

Uri Caine, piano
Dave Liebmann, saxophone
John Hébert, contrebasse
DJ Olive, électronique
Brussels Philharmonic
Alexander Hanson, direction

Commandité par De Bijloke et Flagey (au Studio 4 duquel où il est enregistré) dans le cadre d’une série commune « Jazz meets Symphonic », Agent Orange (du nom de ce défoliant répandu par l’aviation US pour débusquer les combattants vietnamiens terrés dans la jungle), en dix mouvements joués sans pause par le Brussels Philharmonic et quatre improvisateurs (piano, saxophone, contrebasse, électronique), est l’occasion pour Uri Caine (1956-) de faire librement le point sur l’agitation (américaine en particulier) de 1968 – « 50 ans après 1968 » est le thème du Brussels Jazz Festival – et ses prolongements jusqu’à nos jours. On sait les connexions du compositeur de Philadelphie avec le jazz (et le mélange des genres en général), son goût de l’accouplement de sonorités parfois incongrues, sa façon de coaliser des éléments a priori hétéroclites, qu’il fait dégringoler, comme du haut d’un terril, dans une chute presqu’inconvenante, et son souci de servir la justice ou, comme ici, de percher un regard distancié sur l’histoire de son pays et des événements tragiques (dont l’intensité frise parfois le ridicule) qui la parsèment. (Bernard Vincken)

Muziekcentrum De Bijloke, Flagey in collaboration with the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra commission a work for large orchestra and jazz soloists to the composer and pianist Uri Caine. The premiere is taking place as part of the 2018 Brussels Jazz Festival with the theme "50 years after 1968." Caine receives carte blanche and decides to invite jazz musicians Dave Liebman (saxophone), John Hébert (double bass) and DJ Olive (turntables). Uri Caine engages with the festival's theme in a particular way, his work examining 1968 and 2018 and looking back at the American past. 1968 is a year of turmoil in the U.S., but also in Europe, a time full of unrest and fierce political and social disputes. Student demonstrations cause an upheaval and demand the end of the Vietnam War, which goes down in the history books as the first defeat for the USA. The traumatic political effects and social changes continue to leave their mark today. "At the time of the initial discussions with Flagey about the musical parameters of the project, the elections in America were in full swing and Trump emerged victorious. I have lived in New York for thirty-five years, and for all the residents there, the news hit like a bomb because we have been experiencing the man up close for years. Still, one should not consider this piece a mere political pamphlet, even though it contains obvious recognizable references. Music is music and the final way you listen to it depends on each one personally. Everyone is always looking for familiar leads, and of course they differ. For me personally, it is mainly a musical story and a new challenge as a composer. How do you put an orchestra together with improvisers so that there is still room for the latter to do their thing? That is the framework within which I have to work. It ends up being a piece of about forty minutes, made up of small chapters containing various themes and feelings including anger and frustration but also peace. It also contains a lot of reference points to American music history." says Uri Caine. 'Agent Orange' refers to a herbicide and defoliant used extensively by the US in the Vietnam War to destroy forests and crops. The special aircraft, actually designed to extinguish forest fires, poured over 45 million liters of toxins over Vietnam. The name 'Agent Orange' comes from the orange stripes with which the barrels were marked. Agent in this context means active ingredient. The defoliating agents used are contaminated with the chlorine-containing toxins. These cause pox-like skin lesions, damage fetuses in the womb for generations, cause cleft lip and palate, spinal clefts, immune deficiencies, nervous disorders, Parkinson's disease, leukemia, cancer... But 'Agent Orange' does not only stand for one of the biggest war crimes of the United States. When U.S. President Trump first announced a travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries in 2017, rapper Bursa Rhymes calls Donald Trump 'Agent Orange'. Spike Lee repeats the mocking name 'Agent Orange' in a CNN interview because he won't say Trump's name. The term 'Agent Orange' thus acquires a double meaning and becomes Janus-faced. The composition 'Agent Orange' by Uri Caine is not divided into individual movements, but is performed in one go without breaks. There are individual titles for ten passages, but these only serve as reference. Partly hidden, partly overt, Caine works with musical set pieces with allusions to American (music) history. “… I link back to the question of what holds America together. Someone who lives in New York City has a different background than someone from Oklahoma or Texas. We view and judge each other in completely different ways. To me, music is the only binding agent in all of this. At least that's my belief, both as a musician but also as a human being.“ Caine's composition is full of dynamics and complexity. He fuses the orchestral sound with improvisation and the freely played electronics of DJ Olive, who creates a sonic contrast with noises, voices, laughter and sound loops. Dave Liebman's sometimes uproarious soprano saxophone, John Hébert's double bass and Uri Caine's piano improvisation work closely with Alexander Hanson's excellent conducting to create a multi-layered yet homogeneous spectrum of sound. Memories of key works from the American musical world emerge, particularly evident in the passage "Civil War Fugue." However, 'Agent Orange' is not an adaptation, but a completely independent composition that unites Uri Caine's accumulated experience in dealing with classical composition, jazz and new music: music as a mirror of our culture. (Stefan Winter)

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