One of Ghédalia Tazartès' final recordings, with Rhys Chatham, in 2018-2019.
Tazartès and Chatham had met once in 1977 at CBGC's and had not seen each other since then when they were asked by their mutual agent to play a private show in Paris. This happened in September 2018 in a house with a garden where sax player Steve Lacy
had lived back in the 1990s. This album presents the recording of this show plus another show at La semaine du bizarre festival in Montreuil, France a year later, mixed with a couple of studio sessions. This was probably the last music Tazartès, who died in February 2021, recorded. His unique singing blends perfectly with Chatham's loops on electric guitar, trumpet and flute.
French cult artist with an uncompromising character who defied categorization, Ghédalia Tazartès (1947-2021) recorded alone more than 20 albums, calling his Art "Impromuz" for lack of a better term. Before the years 2000s, his public appearances remained exceptional events. Ghédalia Tazartès' music has always been a mystery. It switches from musique concrète to - existing or invented - ethnic music, from poetry to noise, or from loops and collages to sad and extremely beautiful tunes in a second, but it constantly is in flux and coherent. In 2004, Ghedalia finally decided to do live performances again. He first worked with other musicians (Les Reines d'Angleterre, David Fenech & Jac Berrocal
& Black Sifichi, Nicolas Lelièvre) then went solo for ten years. Since then Tazartes has played many shows across Europe including a show in the Patti Smith exhibition at Fondation Cartier in Paris and a cinemix to the "Haxan" silent movie in 2008. In 2018 Ghedalia decided to stop playing solo and to collaborate with other musicians again: Maya Dunietz, Rhys Chatham
, Chris Corsano and Dennis Tyfus, Quentin Rollet
and Jérôme Lorichon.
Rhys Chatham began his musical career as a piano tuner for avant-garde pioneer La Monte Young
as well as harpsichord tuner for Gustav Leonhardt, Rosalyn Tureck and Glenn Gould.
He soon studied under electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick and minimalist icon La Monte Young and was a member of Young's group, The Theater of Eternal Music, during the early seventies; Chatham also played with Tony Conrad
in an early version of Conrad's group, The Dream Syndicate. In 1971, while still in his teens, Chatham became the first music director at the experimental art space The Kitchen in lower Manhattan. His early works, such as Two Gongs (1971) owed a significant debt to Young and other minimalists.His concert productions included experimenters Maryanne Amacher
, Robert Ashley, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Pauline Oliveros
, Steve Reich, and early alternative rockers such as Fred Frith, Robert Fripp, Arto Lindsay, and John Lurie. He has worked closely with visual artist/musician Robert Longo, particularly in the 1980s, and on an experimental opera called XS: The Opera Opus (1984-6) with the visual artist Joseph Nechvatal.
By 1977, Chatham's music was heavily influenced by punk rock, having seen an early Ramones concert. He was particularly intrigued by and influential upon the group of artists music critics would label No Wave in 1978. Members of the New York City noise rock band Band of Susans began their careers in Chatham's ensembles; they later performed a cover of Chatham's "Guitar Trio" on their 1991 album, The Word And The Flesh. (This parallels the way that members of fellow NYC noise rockers Sonic Youth began their careers in Branca's ensembles; Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth
did play with Chatham as well.)
Chatham began playing trumpet in 1983, and his more recent works explore improvisatory trumpet solos; these are performed by Chatham himself, employing much of the same amplification and effects that he acquired with the guitar, over synthesized dance rhythms by the composer Martin Wheeler.