The Port of Last Resort is a remarkable documentaryabout the Jewish refugees who emigrated to Shanghai from Nazi Germany in the 1930's. Musically this was a prfect chance to call up Min Xiao-Fen, who I had met earlier in the year. One of the world's greatest virtuosos on the pipa, I had th pleasure of hearing her solo concert and immediately hooked her up with Derek Bailey for a CD of duo improvisations on AVANT. Relatively new to improvisation, with a little encouragement she took to it at once and continues to perform with Derek around the world and with me at my regular improv evenings. As a special guest with the members of the Bar Kokhba project, her sensual tone adds just the touch conveying the curious crossrods of the Chinese and Jewish cultures that took place at this special time and in this special place. It is an honor to have her play this music.
SHANGHAI, OR NE'ERAV and RUAN were written especially for the film. ENUNIM and AHAVAH developed during rehearsals for Makigami Koichi's Japanese production of Richard Foreman's The Mind King, and were played by the great William Winant on percussion and myself on harmonium. The other four compositions. were drawn from the over 200 tunes that compromise the Masada book, chosen here to portray the range of moods and emotions felt by the ex-patriots in their safe but unfamiliar haven so far from home. Inappropriate for the regular Masada quartet, these pieces have never been heard before and receive delicate and passionate performances by five of my very favorite musicians. These guys are amazing and can play anything you put in front of them. Although they come from veyr different backgrounds, their commitment to a common goal is intense, and the interplay is often telepathic. The beautiful sounds of their instrumetns are captured with depth and sensitivity by Jim Anderson, who has recorded all of the Masada CD's and many of my recent projects. Jim and Kaz are a real team and I thank them both for all they've donne to make my projects sound as good as they do. This recording is one of my best.
For Latin Boys Go to Hell:
The story behind the making of this music is a long, twisted and painful one. After seeing the film, my feeling was that someone else would probably do a much better job of scoring it than I, so I suggested to Ela (a friend of over 20 years) that she should give a call to Marc Ribot, who was immersed in Latin music with his Postisos project. Ela seemed determined to have me do the job and would not be swayed. I began to rethink the project. A week later, inspired by the idea of doing an all-percussion score, I called Ela with my new approuch. Of course by this time she had been doing some thinking as well and had decided that Ribot was in fact a great idea, so why not include him in the band. Percussion alone seemed completely inappropriate to her. Back and forth it went on a variety of subjects until finally, exasperated and frustrated, I bowed out of the whole thing.
Over a month went by and I thought to give a call in to Ela to see what
she finally opted for and how the project was proceeding. Not at all, it
turned out - Ribot hadn't been contacted and no one had been hired. I told
Ela that if she still wanted me to do the music, that I would deliver the
percussion score on one condition: that no one contact me until it was
completely recorded. She agreed and seemed to love the results. Cyro has
always been a blast to work with and Kenny knocked us both out with his
dynamic vibraphone playing. What incredible musicians these guys are -
and how well they work together. Once we got into the studio this was a
fucking party - complete with a Korean buffet of chapchae, pajun, mandoo
gui, yang bulgogi, wang kalbi, jae yook gui and the like. Needless to say,
the score was barely used in the final cut, Ela opting instead for a potpourri
of lame rock and generic disco. I asked for my credit to be changed.