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Altitude

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 25, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Charlie Hunter and Bobby Previte as Groundtruther, now with special guest John Medeski, conclude their trilogy of recordings with Altitude. Renowned keyboardist John Medeski, of famed trio Medeski, Martin and Wood, augements the team with his extended palette and knowledge of both acoustic keyboard and electronic tectures and atmospheres.

Altitude takes on a new twist in the vaulted legacy of these unique collaborations, as this time two cds individually devoted to acoustic and electric discs will be released as a set. Upon listening, these recordings prove themselves to be euqal parts haunting, exuberant and driving...and serve as the perfect concluding chapter for the Groundtruther Trilogy of recordings.

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Don't be fooled by the guest appearance of John Medeski, keyboardist from groove gurus Medeski, Martin & Wood. Altitude isn't a good-time funk-and-shimmy jam-band record but a CD of out-jazz explorations that's like a sci-fi film score transmuted through Phish channeling Sun Ra. Well, OK--I guess Phish actually used to do all that on occasion, but this is with musicians who've spent most of their careers dancing on the knife edge. Altitude is the third of Charlie Hunter and Bobby Previte's Groundtruther recordings. The first two, Latitude and Longitude, featured saxophonist Greg Osby and DJ Logic, respectively. But this double CD blows the roof off their sonic explorations. Which doesn't mean there isn't a lot of fun and fury. It's just not always easy to grab onto, even when they toss out life rings of chunky rhythm matched to melodic riffing. Disc 1, Above Sea Level, is an electric storm. Besides his customary Hammond organ, Medeski plays vintage keyboards from the Moog to the mellotron, becoming a colorist dropping in space age sound effects. Charlie Hunter jettisons his R&B and jazz background in favor of early Sonny Sharrock shards of electro-distortion that often barely sound like the seven-string guitar he plays, let alone a regular guitar. Bobby Previte plays electronic drums, often creating sound effects but also dropping in a funky groove like "Seoul Tower." But just as often, he's tossing garbage cans down the hill. Disc 2, Below Sea Level, is a pure free-form abstraction that suggests a meeting ground between Karlheinz Stockhausen and Keith Jarrett. Entirely acoustic, it manages to be both freer and more organic than Above. Hunter calculates angles between classical and prepared guitar while Medeski wanders around inside his piano and Previte plays with pots and pans in the kitchen. Yet there's an intuitive spirit here that culminates in the poetic rumination of "Mariana Trench." Groundtruther dare to step to the edge of the deepest abyss and the highest mountain. Sometimes they fly, and sometimes they fall. --John Diliberto

More from Charlie Hunter, Bobby Previte, and John Medeski


Mistico


Copperopolis


Songs from the Analog Playground


Bing, Bing, Bing!


The Coalition of the Willing


The 23 Constellations of Joan Miró


Mago


Combustication


Friday Afternoon in the Universe

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Three Haiku's- Death Valley- Salt Lake - Dead Sea
  2. Submarine Canyon
  3. Subduction Zone
  4. Evaporites
  5. Forearc
  6. Cold Seep
  7. Downwelling
  8. Decollement
  9. Sea Floor Spreading Hypothesis
  10. Turbidite
  11. Bathymetric Expression
  12. Tectonic Revolution
  13. Mariana Trench
  14. Challenger Deep


Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 25, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Thirsty Ear
  • ASIN: B000V8MR2U
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,803 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Delite Rancher VINE VOICE on April 7, 2008
Format: Audio CD
As with the first two installments of Groundtruther, volume three features Charlie Hunter and Bobby Previte with a guest. In this case, it is the great John Medeski. Entitled "Above Sea Level," the first disc features the album's rockin' electric set. This disc is high on the pyrotechnics and psychedelics. Indeed, 'Everest' sounds like a nod to the second set Space that the Grateful Dead played during their concerts in the 1990's. Highlights include 'Pyramid of Giza' and 'Seoul Tower.' While the first disc is loose, "Below Sea Level" goes for broke and plays acoustic free jazz. At times, the self-indulgent wandering seems to exclude Charlie Hunter. If the potential listener is going to invest in this product, the first disc is where it's at. Writing from my experience, the Groundtruther series plays music that will not come to the listerner; rather the listener must come to the music. Some may need transcendents to appreciate the series. In the very least, these recordings require the effort of repeated listens and an open mind. All of the Groundtruthers sound like the groups are jamming together for the first time. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. In this setting, Hunter, Medeski and Previte have serious chemistry. On "Latitude" (the project with Greg Osby on sax), the effort has more of an electronica feel. "Longitude" (the project with DJ Logic) can be dismissed as just being wacked. On the other hand, this band plays with more of a straight rock feel, giving nods to fusion and funk. All in all, this is probably the strongest in terms of the musicians, chemistry and results.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you like an offbeat mix of jazz, funk, rock, etc. then you will love this CD. It's a great eclectic mix, yet hold together very well. I've probably played it 10 times in the last couple of weeks and this will stay on my play list long term.
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Format: Audio CD
great muscianship and experimental avant garde jazz----I personally enjoyed disc one more, but again both are worthy of a listen.
Anthony hanley
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