Wooley / Lytton / Grubbs Seven Storey Mountain


Free-jazz has long been a haven for spiritual searchers on enlightened paths. Nate Wooley is a young American trumpet player who has associations within indie intelligentsia (Akron/Family, Wolf Eyes) and the credible jazz world (Anthony Braxton, John Zorn). Seven Storey Mountain is a composition based upon the influential 1948 autobiography of Trappist monk Thomas Merton. Wooley hoped to mirror Merton's struggle towards purity of spirit with a work commissioned by the 2007 Festival of New Trumpet Music in New York. Joining Wooley is iconic British drummer Paul Lytton, best known for collaborations with Evan Parker and David Grubbs, late of Gastr Del Sol, among others. The piece opens with a lonely bass tone isolated in long silences. Quiet breathing sounds and echoes from tapping on the trumpet's bell eventually are joined by Grubbs' harmonium wheeze. The slow build to the centre of the piece is signalled by Lytton's frenetic, light touch on cymbals and snare. Predictably, the tumult gradually recedes, leaving quiet droplets of sound. It isn't new ground broken but at least well held by this capable trio. (Important)