Call Me When You Get There (Remastered) Barre Phillips

Album info



Label: ECM Records

Genre: Jazz

Subgenre: Free Jazz

Artist: Barre Phillips

Album including Album cover

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  • 1Grants Pass08:08
  • 2Craggy Slope04:57
  • 3Amos Crowns Barn04:00
  • 4Pittmans Rock04:59
  • 5Highway 3703:37
  • 6Winslow Cavern04:25
  • 7Riverbend04:13
  • 8Brewstertown 205:28
  • Total Runtime39:47

Info for Call Me When You Get There (Remastered)

I’ve said it before, but Barre Phillips is one of ECM’s brightest stars, though one would never know it by the solemnity of his genius. Glowing with a pale fire that can be drawn only in cosmic pigments, his sound-world on Call me when you get there throbs as if Michael Galasso and David Darling had fused into a collaborative quasar. The opening “Grants Pass” would seem to have been written in the margins of Steve Reich’s Different Trains, and works its gentle magic under the toenails of our foothold. Played on resonant multi-tracked instruments, this track stands as one of Phillips’s finest. Each shade of harmonic interplay forms a new glyph before our ears and eyes, proving once again just how cavernous the bass really is. This wistful trail leads us to the “Craggy Slope,” an uneven climb into heavily eroded terrain, occasionally punctuated by the fluid twang of the waters that wrought it into existence, and ending surprisingly in an almost baroque denouement. And on that edge we linger, dancing the slow-motion jig of “Amos Crowns Barn” before following the anonymous stirrings beyond “Pittmans Rock.” But when we jump, we land on “Highway 37,” caught in a stampede of tumbleweeds. Here, the bass sounds more like a ball of twine wound around a rubbery core, expanding into some looming paternal guitar, hunchbacked from old age. “Winslow Cavern” bubbles like the molten rock of a volcano before taking shape in the aptly titled “River Bend,” which plucks and scrapes its way through a serpentine journey. And as we take shelter in “The Cavern,” we discover that the only promise of life that awaits us outside its darkness is “Brewstertown 2,” a nightmarish backcountry town with an impending tornado etched into its background.

We can add this album (which incidentally dons some of ECM’s best typography to date) to the modest yet potent shelf of solo bass recordings begun with Dave Holland’s as-yet-unsurpassed Emerald Tears. A masterpiece in the Phillips discography and one well worth the plunge for those who’ve yet to dare.

Barre Phillips, double bass

February, 1983 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg, Germany
Engineered by Martin Wieland
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Digitally remastered

Barre Phillips
who was born in 1934 in California but has lived in the south of France since the early 1970s, has been at the forefront of successive revolutions in improvised music. He initially followed an academic career to the age of 25, until one day, as he puts it, he “just flipped” and decided that he would pursue his passion for music “come hell or high water”.

Ornette Coleman set him on his jazz path around 1960 and he was soon working the extremes of the “New Thing”, playing improvised chamber music with Jimmy Guiffre and freely expressive “fire music” with Archie Shepp. In London in the late 1960s he played with John Stevens’ history-making Spontaneous Music Ensemble and with the South African musicians around Chris McGregor. He then co-founded the powerhouse group The Trio with John Surman and Stu Martin, which appeared on Mountainscapes. Phillips’ first recording for ECM, however, was the 1971 duo album Music for Two Basses with Dave Holland, the first duo for basses issued on any label (“a fine record by two masters of the instrument”, BBC).

After further recordings for the label with Surman, and with Terje Rypdal, and the solo bass album, Call Me When You Get There, Phillips experimented with music for bass, percussion and tape on Aquarium Rain and mediated between Evan Parker and Paul Bley on Time Will Tell and Sankt Gerold, the latter a live album, taped at the Austrian mountain monastery. John Fordham, writing about this album in the Guardian, praised Phillips for “on the one hand swirling, smoky bowed textures and on the other great tension between his precision of pitch and buzzing-bee abstractions”. The bassist also collaborated with Joe and Mat Maneri on two ECM discs, Tales of Rohnlief and Angles of Repose, the second of which was recorded at the ancient chapel of Sainte Philomène, which adjoins Phillips’s home in Puget-Ville.

“I play everything based on what my ear suggests I play, with no objective editing. And my ear is fed by a pool of accumulated musical experiences stored in my memory, mental memory and muscle memory. My active role is to do the best I can to play on my instrument what my ear is suggesting.”

This album contains no booklet.

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