Ellen Weller - Spirits, Little Dreams and Improvisations
(circ 041)
Personnel: Ellen Weller (flute, sop sax, Bb clar, pic, fife, windrum*, misc. jangles, Marcos Fernandes (perc, field recordings, talking drum, elec), Nathan Hubbard (perc, elect, tuning pipe, whistling ), Vinny Golia (sopranino and ten saxes, Bb and contrabass clar), George Lewis (trom), Charlie Weller (drum kit ) Bob Weller (pn, drum kit) Bertram Turetzky (bass ), Scott Walton (bass ), Lisle Ellis (elec-ac bass ), Robert Zelickman (Bb clar)

Spirits, Little Dreams and Improvisations (Yiddish - Dybbuks, Dremls und Doinas): Judaism, like Christianity and other religions, developed its own possession myth during the Middle Ages - that of the dybbuk. Weller's project explores the powerful place of the dybbuk in explaining aberrant human behavior, and to connect such explanations to musical creativity, especially improvisation. Many cultures throughout the world acknowledge the power of music to summon spirits, human or otherwise. Other myths connect various mental illnesses with spirit possession. Weller connects these concepts of spirit and possession to the mental and physical state of the improvising musician. According to Weller, "there are moments during an improvisation when one feels like a conduit, merely enabling the music to happen, as if it is flowing through you, not coming from you. When that happens in a group performance, your own personality is subsumed to the larger spiritual flow. To me, that's when the music seems the most inspired - a word that comes from the Latin inspirare [to breathe], and implies being guided by a supernatural force." The very word spirit also comes from this same root - to blow, to breathe - and can mean 'an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms.' (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary tenth edition). The story of spirit possession and exorcism is carried in tracks 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 12, 15 and 16. In track two, Dybbuk, and track 4, Unfinished Business, the newly disembodied spirit considers its current condition and its options. The most traditionally "Jewish"-sounding track is 4, The Rebbe's Premonition, a rather disturbing trio effort with bassist Bertram Turetzky and clarinetist Robert Zelickman, both members of the group Second Avenue Klezmer Ensemble. Grandma Rose's Dreml (track 7) opens with processed field recordings by phonographer Marcos Fernandes and commentary by trombonist George Lewis and Ellen Weller on flute. As the dream state deepens, Lisle Ellis leads on with an electric bass solo, followed by Bob Weller's spacey piano musings. Lewis and 17-year old drummer Charlie Weller kick it into high gear, soon joined by the ensemble to a tumultuous climax, and [reluctant] reawakening into the everyday world.

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release date:2004
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