Taylor Ho Bynum and the Spidermonkey Strings Madeleine Dreams

Taylor Ho Bynum and the Spidermonkey Strings Madeleine Dreams
The term "magic realism" has been used with works of literature, art and film to sometimes describe the incursions of dream into the world of the real. The text that informs Taylor Ho Bynum's suite of six pieces comes from Madeleine is Sleeping, a novel written by Bynum's sister, Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum. The music is performed by a wonderful ensemble, which are essentially a string quartet augmented by voice, drums, guitar, tuba and Bynum's trumpet. Bynum's years with Anthony Braxton has placed him in good stead, in regards to this work, with the music providing a strong and compelling counterpoint to the succinct yet supremely poetic text. The mix of composition and improvisation provides a focused yet flexible collaborator to the images evoked by the sometimes sung, sometimes spoken text, and is never contrived or obvious. The remaining three pieces by Ellington, Coleman and Sun Ra are also infused with a sly originality, completing a very satisfying work. (Firehouse 12)