Michael Farley Grain

Michael Farley has led a life of diversity. From his years on the road playing sax in R&B bands to his studies with experimental artist/guru Kenneth Gaburo to becoming a professor upstate at New York's St. Lawrence University, Farley's music is marked by a balance of intellectuality and downright funkiness. "No Eyes" is an earthy narrative about saxophonist Lester Young, a musician's musings on people, life and what fades away. Farley's rich, evocative voice is recorded with such intimacy that you can almost hear him lick his lips before speaking the next sentence. Backed by his sax playing, drums and guitar, Farley does a superb job of delivering the text of David Meltzer. "…After Motherwell" is a two-channel tape piece characterized by a dramatic use of silence, quavering drones and small sounds, all carefully juxtaposed to telling effect. Pianist Barbara Phillips-Farley gives "Camellia," for piano and tape, a spacey, evocative reading that's vaguely noir-ish and dreamlike. "Brown's Hymn" features deeply personal musings on predestination, obligation, spirituality and the meaning of the blues. Farley speaks with warmth and self-knowledge, and then launches into a sanctified, multi-tracked hymn and sermon. This is way-deep blues, and Grain is filled with deeply satisfying music. Also included is video/electro-acoustic piece "Milton Avery in Kansas," a hypnotic meditation on a Midwestern grain field. (Innova)