rare and forgotten experimental music

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dickie Landry - Fifteen Saxophones

More frequently credited as Richard Landry, for some reason he decided to go with the name Dickie for this LP. Landry would probably be best known for playing sax with Philip Glass throughout the 70's. He played on pretty much all the original recordings of Glass' seminal pieces, like "Einstein on the Beach", "Music in Twelve Parts", "Music With Changing Parts", "Music in Fifths", "North Star", etc.. He also played on the Talking Heads' "Speaking in Tongues" and Talking Heads member Jerry Harrison's solo album "Casual Gods". Despite his close working relationship with Glass, though, this album bears more of a relation to Terry Riley's early improvisational, jazzy aesthetic than Glass' additive, endlessly repetitious style. This is a great album of dreamy, droney minimalist music, which nowadays would probably pass for ambient or some such thing.

Landry has recorded a number of albums, and seems to still be somewhat active today. There's not much info about him on the web, but I was able to find this page with a short bio and some nice recordings. He released two albums in the earlyish seventies on Philip Glass' Chatham Square label, which I would LOVE to hear if anyone out there has them.

This album was released on the great German Wergo label in 1977, and has three long tracks performed entirely by Landry. The LP was produced by frequent Philip Glass producer Kurt Munkacsi.

The first piece, "Fifteen Saxophones", is about 10 minutes of overdubbed sax playing, presumably fifteen overdubbed tracks. There's some interlocking, hocketing parts, and some dronier sections. On the whole this piece is rather reminiscent of Terry Riley's "Poppy Nogood", though the fact that it's using overdubbing rather than just delay allows for a degree of complexity and interaction between the parts.

The second track, "Alto Flute Quad Delay", consists of, as you might guess, Landry playing an alto flute through a long delay. Landry plays primarily long tones here, so it doesn't end up sounding all that similar to Terry Riley's delay-based works like "A Rainbow in Curved Air" or "Poppy Nogood" which tended to have faster playing.

The last track, "Kitchen Solos", takes up all of Side B on the LP. Here Landry is playing solo saxophone with a long delay system. This track was recorded live at the Kitchen in NYC. While he plays some long tones and some repetitive phrases like a good minimalist, there's also some nice post-Coltrane free-jazzy sax squealing and multiphonics at times. This piece is probably mostly or perhaps entirely improvised, and has some really great bits, like a couple of minute of key clicks which end up sounding like some weird percussion instrument through all the delay.

Available on CD & LP from Unseen Worlds


e jerry said...

Dickie is how most people refer to him, from what I've heard. On at least the two workshops I've been around him (the first around the time of Glass's The Voyage premiere, the second in the spring of 1993, about the time of 13 Gestures), I never heard him called anything but Dickie. Babs Case called him Dickie even in her sleep.

Dickie liked to mess with my head during improv work. Fortunately, during the most recent one, I had my back to the audience.

e jerry said...

Oh, and don't forget his working alongside Adrian Belew on the Home of the Brave tour for Laurie Anderson. I heard quite amusing stories of Janice Pendarvis and Dolette McDonald from that one.

Doug Menefee said...

I lived next door to Dickie in Lafayette. He is a very well versed musician. He's also well known for his visual arts (mostly paintings). In addition to everything mentioned by other posts he plays with a great swamp pop band named Lil' Band o' Gold. Below is the write up from Amazon.com:

"On Lil' Band O' Gold some of south Louisiana's finest roots musicians get together to play some vintage swamp-pop. The lineup includes Steve Riley, the frontman of the Mamou Playboys; Warren Storm; C.C Adcock; Richard Comeaux of River Road; and David Egan, the pianist from Fil. The songs are drawn from a variety of styles and include Dewey Balfa's Cajun classic "Parlez Nous a Boire" ("Lets Talk About Drinking"), Moon Mullican's "7 Nights 2 Rock," and Tom Waits and Keith Richards's "That Feel." The band skillfully blends the backwoods sounds of accordion and pedal steel with the big-city sound of the St. Martin Horns. The music of Lil' Band O' Gold would make an excellent soundtrack for a summer barbecue. --Michael Simmons "

Dickie said...

Dickie Landry !5 Saxophones:

Yes its alive. My email is landry9999@bellsouth.net

thanks for the post.