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20 April 2009

Air - 'Montreux Suisse' (Arista Novus)

Source: Ross's, the same day I got all my other Air records.

They must have liked Muhal Richard Abrams so much in Montreaux that they asked his associates Air to come the next year. And I'm sure they were excited, but it sounds a bit weird to me. I'm gonna put forth a theory: something about Swiss Air's in-flight catering - I'm talking about the airline here -- disagreed with Fred Hopkins' stomach. And so he took to the stage in a rather punchy mood, bashing outbursts of double-bass pain followed by calm sections (as his stomach cycled through pain and contentment). I dunno, maybe even diarrhea is involved somehow but I don't want to be presumptous. So, Threadgill tries to hold down the fort but is concerned for his friend and colleague, and you can hear it in his playing. Steve McCall continues the lumbering vibe heard on Open Air Suit throughout the remainder of the performance - hey, it's all he can do -- before Hopkins recovers and lays down a total moustache-combing bass solo. It's a statement of "I'm fine guys, it's passed - now let's get down to business." Redeemed, the trio launches into 'Suisse Air' on side 2, their tribute/complaint to the airline that nearly derailed their entire set. As it starts, Threadgill is mostly quiet -- maybe not even present -- as the rhythm section offers their comments on Swiss neutrality from 1674-1945. He comes back and they get into some of that Air magic that made the jazz-loving Montreuxiens tender their offer in the first place. But it's over all too quickly (a quarter hour) and that's all there is to say.

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