Nate Wooley / Peter Evans – Instrumentals Vol. 1

Instrumentals Vol. 1 is the first collaborative recording effort between trumpeters Nate Wooley and Peter Evans since their duo record High Society.  This time the two are featured on a split LP, one side belonging to each performer, neither of whom had heard the other’s contribution until the record was complete.  The idea for the record was from Woody Sullender of Dead CEO, who approached the two about his new series of recordings where two players of the same instrument perform separate sides of an LP.  This made for an interesting approach to the recording process, perhaps a bit of a dialog not much unlike their act as a duo: each performer arranged their music inevitably with the other in mind, maybe even subconsciously attempting to talk to the other.  According to Wooley, “We’re always trying to surprise each other and see if we can push things further than the last guy did.”  And by request of Sullender, each player contributed liner notes about the other for the record, each having not even heard the other side.

Unlike High Society, this split finds Wooley and Evans reducing their sounds to un-amplified and acoustic purity, and both performers remain adventurous within this simplicity in independently unique ways.  For Wooley’s side, which he dedicated to composer Walter Marchetti, he compressed an hour of continuous playing into 18 minutes, then cut and layered chunks into fractured segments interspersed between intervals of silence.  These sections vary in intensity and depth, ranging from Wooley’s signature spurt-y whispers of piped air to frantic swarms of quasi-harmonious warble.  The result is more than just intellectual meandering and creates an atmosphere of meditative transience not uncommon for Wooley’s intensely contemplative and sincere style.

Evans’s side is by contrast more minimal in composition, but this is not to say it lacks in substance or energy in comparison to Wooley’s offering.  Evans masterfully navigates his instrument through negative space, incisively flinching throughout an infinite purgatory with both ease and purposeful, direct intent.  Linguistically, Evans’s playing at times is loquacious; at other moments, it’s all vowels.  But absurdity is not visited without caution and finesse, and the player is never separated from the abstraction he has created.  This organic approach by Evans maintains an active pulse, an audible breath, a humanity to the imagination.

Needless to say both trumpeters have outdone themselves with this effort, and perhaps they have each other to thank for that.


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