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New Music L.a. 1987 : Composers At Lhasa

March 16, 1987|JOHN HENKEN

Even assuming that there is a difference, the line dividing artistic improvisation from just fooling around with music gear is an ambiguous one. Saturday night at the Lhasa Club, the Independent Composers Assn. presented "An Evening of Composer-Performers" who walked that line.

The bright spot in an otherwise tedious evening of self-indulgent, self-important efforts was the untitled "Virtuosic Woodwind Renderings" of David Ocker, Vinny Golia and Ann LaBerge. They play a wide variety of clarinets, saxophones and flutes, and play them very well indeed.

They also make strongly defined, passionate, purposeful music, though just how spontaneously was not clear. Their work ranged from a shrill, ear-numbing assault to gentle pastoral moods, all charged with pertinent ensemble interplay.

In "Post-Cha-Cha Transformations," on the other hand, Tom Recchion reduced the minimalist ethic for the most somnolent sensibilities. Though supported with rudimentary contributions from guitarist Juan Gomez and violinist Michael Uhlenkott, Recchion relied largely on pre-recorded materials for his four numbers.

In a similar way, "The Beginning of Anarchy" by guitarist Gregg Wager proved all background, very much like the rhythm guitarist of a garage band practicing his licks alone. Only at the end did a lead emerge, sounding like an Indian raga interpreted by Chuck Berry.

Also on this New Music Los Angeles Festival 1987 bill was Brad Laner and Steaming Coils, a very loud sextet of an uncertain pop persuasion. As their set did not begin until nearly midnight, at least one listener did not await its further development.

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