Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut
Ayler Records announces SHURDUT as the first living artist to be celebrated with Box Set; 2007. Performances include: The Whitney Museum of American Art, Biennial; 2008. The University of Pennsylvania; 2006. Hampshire College; 2010. Awards include: Columbia University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Installation; 1993/94. Documented by Cadence and NOLABELS! 2002-2005.
Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut (Am. b. 1967) is the founder of THIS IS THE MUSIC OF LIFE: A series featuring both inter-disciplinary and multi-instrumental artists who have a place in American History and emerging artists dedicated to documenting the essential connection between the visual, movement, music, and word in a living and creative space.
Shurdut is a "Visionary," Mike Szajewski (WNUR, Chicago); with "Talent and Vision to Spare," Steven Loewy (All Music Guide). "But listeners beware ï¿½ when you first get started there is no way back, you are going to be hooked for life," says Henrik Kaldahl.
"...referencing everything from "from the wood rattling against the heater" to "the screams of the garbage trucks at 4 am" as Shurdut puts it, this trio has created an arresting urban sound picture. Just as the reality of big city life is expressed by yoking extended techniques to familiar jazz instruments, this CD defies metropolitan anomie with heartfelt sonic expressions that interconnect rather than alienate." -Ken Waxman (JAZZ WORD)
I'm blown away, Jeffery!!! Highly creative avant garde creation and beyond! I like your creative ideas... I think it's a stroke of genius. I think we stepped on the toes of the classical musicians as well. We must continue once more with this concept and your new concept of approach to the music in the 21st century.
Sonny Simmons 2005
Jeffrey Hayden Shurdutï¿½s
ï¿½THIS IS THE MUSIC OF LIFEï¿½
ï¿½This Music Lives Up To Its Name.ï¿½
-The Village Voice (2005)
ï¿½A luta continuaï¿½ intense, astringent , multipoint,ï¿½engrossing level of improvisitory interactionï¿½ a viscerally thrilling ride.ï¿½
ï¿½Shurdut pledges allegiance to the spirit of ecstasy with a band of ebullient blow torches, including Sonny Simmons, and Blaise Siwula.ï¿½ -Time Out NY (2005)
ï¿½Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut leads a sextet featuring legend Sonny Simmons.ï¿½ -The New York Times (2005)
ï¿½Daniel Carter with Jeff Shurdut ...Haunting, Reflective, and Engaging.ï¿½ -Downtown Music Gallery
ï¿½Jeff Shurdutï¿½s THIS IS THE MUSIC OF LIFE with Marshall Allen and Sabir Mateenï¿½ Wynton Marsalis should get this group over to Lincoln Center.ï¿½ -The Village Voice (2005)
ï¿½TOP NOTCH INCENDIARY FREE JAZZ
FROM JEFFREY SHURDUT'S COLLECTIVE.ï¿½
-TIME OUT NEW YORK. NOVEMBER 17-23, 2005
By: Daniel Spicer
New York multi-instrumentalist Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut isnâ€™t one to whisper when a shout will do. This third installment of his monumental download-only box set adds a further six CDsâ€™ worth of live recordings, bringing it to around 20 hours. With Shurdut mostly playing a fire-spitting alto sax, the basic template is the explosive mass improvisation of Coltraneâ€™s Ascension, but with the Afrocentric spiritual yearning replaced by nerve-jangling information overload. â€œFree Gravityâ€ is a boiling scream, with Danny and Gene Mooreâ€™s guitars and electronics touching similar ground to uncle/brother Thurstonâ€™s Original Silence; â€œIndigenous Songs for Our Peopleâ€ features percussionist Lukas Ligeti; and â€œMiddle Class Povertyâ€ pits Sabir Mateenâ€™s tenor against Shurdutâ€™s piano pummeling. Almost overwhelming in scope and density, and gleefully sidestepping issues of subtlety or restraint, itâ€™s not so much a joyful noise as an anguished shriek of existence.
Signal To Noise
By: Lawrence Cosentino
In the notes to his eight-part â€œdigital box setâ€ on Ayler Records, Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut calls himself a â€œmoving portal,â€ a human receptor communicating â€œthe all-out storm of the world.â€ From this and other basement-Buddha pronouncements, an ornery skeptic could make wild guesses about Shurdutâ€™s life story: the one failed piano lesson, the uncommunicative youth, and finally, the burst of inspiration that led him to throw off the shackles of technique and realize that music isnâ€™t created, but already out there, poised to rush on its own through a properly receptive â€œportal.â€ No, Shurdut doesnâ€™t make it easy, but this collection tosses down an enormous gauntlet: listen to these astounding sonic cyclones, recorded guerilla-style in various venues around New York, and then brush him off â€“ if you can.
The Digital Box is a daunting package, and the first order of business is to skip past Shurdutâ€™s post-obvious poetry and philosophy (â€œeverything is already in front of usâ€) and go straight to â€œEtuning,â€ the set's centerpiece.
â€œEtuningâ€ presumably stands for â€œenvironmental tuning,â€ an evasive concept until you hear Shurdut and his colleagues draw shattering soundscapes out of everyday noises. Most of Shurdut's sessions feature two or three hair-onfire reedmen, maybe a trumpet, prominent percussion, and wild-card elements such as viola, laptop, or spoken word. (Shurdutâ€™s philosophy is to let anyone play anything, whether itâ€™s â€œtheirâ€ instrument or not.) Shurdut
himself is usually under the waves, stirring up bottom murk on guitar, amp or piano. The first thing that hits you about this music is its hungry, amoeba-like cohesion. In â€œEtuning From the Shower Head,â€ everybody locks into thick, liquid pulsations, centered by Brian Osborneâ€™s tremendous drum rolls. Reedman Blaise Siwula, an exciting and frequent collaborator on this set, sounds almost blithe, as if heâ€™s singing in the shower. â€œKitchen Sinkâ€ is full of stinging cymbals and high-hat splashes â€“ is the water too hot? â€“ and â€œBathroom Tubâ€ goes on a wild squeakathon, with Shurdutâ€™s guitar sounding like a barnyard full of chickens. A bracing new sound combination is almost always around the corner. On â€œSiren to the Dishwasher Handle,â€ flutist Bonnie Kane adds a bizarre fairy dust of trills; on â€œTruck to the Wind Underneath My Door,â€ Daniel Carterâ€™s huge tenor booms through dense layers of resistance and friction. The savage energy and palpable group spirit of Etuning is typical of the whole set. The longer tracks will challenge the patience of some, but the music's felicitous mix of random and precise processes, its organic integrity, makes it as hard to argue with as a wild forest, a busy street or a hunk of rock. The trick is not to follow this music, but to wander through it.
â€œHumanity,â€ for example, starts out like cave music, with piano tolling and cello slurs like a growling stomach. Welf Dorrâ€™s alto sax spirals up through the dark like a silvery stalagmite. Most of the time, such comparisons fail, as when until the group stretches and strangles the music into a twisted rope of wet sound. The sheer power of most tracks will blow the scalp off your skull.
On â€œEmergency Broadcast System,â€ Siwula and tenor man Ras Moshe whip around like an unattended riot hose for a solid 20 minutes before starting to flag (though drummer Marc Edwards just keeps on going). They set the bar so high anything less than an all-out frenzy begins to sound like marking time, but Shurdutâ€™s endings always rise to the occasion. Toward â€œEmergencyâ€™sâ€ conclusion, Moshe takes a blazing solo, supported by low rumbles from Shurdut. Edwards skitters in with nervous brushwork, and then theyâ€™re off again, heading for a thunderous, drum-drenched climax.
â€œCity Livingâ€ is among the least frantic, with Siwula and Ras Moshe on tenors and Marcus Cummins on soprano for the 42-minute anchor track, a study in the braiding and unbraiding of sax lines. Shurdutâ€™s hand is lighter, in part because heâ€™s on a background-mixed Fender Rhodes, so even the mass freakouts sound a bit like theyâ€™re happening inside a bottle. Shurdutâ€™s inclusiveness works well here. For much of the duration, all three reedmen are playing at once, and their intelligently layered interplay, defying all odds, doesnâ€™t get old.
On â€œThis is the Music of Lifeâ€, Siwula and free-jazz legend Sonny Simmons sound great together, and itâ€™s a thrill when Daniel Carterâ€™s trumpet swoops in like a hawk, temporarily silencing them both. Of course, there are limitations to Shurdutâ€™s approach. When the hornmen lay out and leave his piano out to dry for too long, he wears out his welcome. Heâ€™ll obsess over a cramped figure on piano or guitar for minutes on end, forcing the rest to make something out of it. Often they do, sometimes they donâ€™t.
â€œAyler Records Celebrationâ€ centers on Luther Thomasâ€™ tribute to Charlie Parker, with disembodied Bird riffs and tired spokenword jazz worship that broke the Shurdut spell for me. But that was an exception.
Still, some people will call this set self-indulgent, and maybe it is. On balance, itâ€™s a good thing surgeons and dentists donâ€™t rediscover their instruments and channel their disciplines out of thin air, as Shurdut does with guitars and pianos. But we should all aspire to attune ourselves to kitchen sinks, windy doorways, and city sounds the way Shurdut does. Religion is about filling lifeâ€™s empty bag, and etuning has more to do with religion than music. It requires a leap of faith, but if youâ€™re game, etuning richly rewards elistening.