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Tom Cora: It’s a Brand New Day

As Bruce Gallanter explains in his notes, this compilation of live tracks seeks to augment the woefully small recorded output of pioneering cellist Tom Cora, who passed away in 1999. Widely varying ensembles cover a spectrum of approaches, from the opening “Passing,” with it’s somewhat Weillish vocal by Catherine Jauniaux, to outstanding, heavily electronic duos with Wayne Horvitz and Fred Frith. Downtown musicians’ tendencies to combine divergent styles is on display on outings like the “Saint Dog,” which features fine solos by Cora and Dave Douglas, as well as on “Ce Grand Neant.” You may have had to be there to fully experience the strange “Ce Grand Neant,” but any piece that combines folk singsong and freakishly modern string work over creative rock-style drums (by Pippin Barnett) is worth checking out-as is anyone who can bring together convincingly such diverse elements. Cora’s solo conception, as demonstrated on the closing “Hey, My Mosey Mose,” is perhaps even more impressive.

Listeners with any taste for the post-free contemporary sounds will find Cora’s now-silent voice very expressive.

Originally Published