NA ENU IGWE
Joseph Jarman and Famoudou Don Moye
Egwu-Anwu (Sun Song)
India Navigation : 1978
JJ, tenor and alto sax, sopranino, flutes, bass clarinet, conch, vibraphone; FDM, drums and other percussion, bailophone, conch, whistles, horns, marimba.
Rare things: Successful utopias. Hen’s teeth. Really good linguine con vongole. Giant pandas. And, apparently, silence. There’s something of a micro-genre springing up, with recent books devoted to searching out the world’s quickly disappearing quiet places. Noise pollution as heir to air pollution.
The value of silence is something the AACM was onto decades ago. Not for them the pure scream of Pharaoh Sanders or the wall-to-wall wail of Albert Ayler. Jarman and Moye, two of the first wave of AACMers, fully embraced the association’s pursuit of sound in ALL of its permutations. One of the memorable passages concerning Jarman from George Lewis’ magisterial history of the AACM captures this beautifully. Here’s Anthony Braxton talking about one notable rehearsal:
We play “NN-1″ [a (Muhal Richard) Abrams composition]. I say, I’m going to show these motherfuckers what it’s all about — thirty-second notes, Coltrane, Cecil Taylor. I finished my solo, and Jarman stood up and said [sings] Bwaaaah! [silence], Oom [silence], Pfffft! I said this motherfucker is totally out of his motherfucking mind, and this is the baddest shit I’ve ever heard in my life.
With the twenty-minute “Na Enu Igwe,” the concluding movement of a duo concert, we can hear something of Jarman and Moye’s open-ended approach to the full spectrum of sonic possibility, about ten years after Braxton’s AACM indoctrination. Ranging from relatively straightforward sax and drum duets to a concentrated pas de deux of little instruments, honking horns, and percussion, this multi-part track captures the fearlessness and grace Jarman and Moye bring to live performance. And the quiet passages here speak as loudly as anything else.