Return to One

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Quotes - People are saying...

"silence is the canvas on which we paint our art"
- ancient proverb
you must return to one, that is the most important thing
- Ravi Shankar, 1967
"Three of tonights performers are members of the group Return To One, whose album Hopes and Dreams I heard for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Blown away by the album, I called Nathan Hubbard, the drummer and composer for the group, and with whom I've played on a couple of Trummerflora-related occasions, and asked him to round up several of his Return To One cohorts for tonight's show. I can't recommend their album highly enough; please pick up a copy..."
- Mike Keneally, 2001
"...Adventurous free improvisation or highly chromatic compositions that should appeal to listeners who want to be taken to new places"
- San Diego New Music
The CD "hopes and dreams" by Return To One begins with a strong musical introduction including a quick tempo, a tight arrangement and a melody in the high range of the woodwinds which adds immediacy to the musical journey you are about to take. Within a few minutes, the tempo begins to accelerate into an Afro-Cuban groove and soon jettisons into a fierce atonal and arrhythmic collage of sounds eventually leading us back into the recapitulation of the original opening melody. The elastic tempo changes and occasional metric displacements on "hopes and dreams" reveal how tight this quartet can be when they dedicate themselves to a common musical goal. Although the musical arrangements include an introduction of the melody by Elderton and Baxter and the eventual expansion of the motives by each soloist, the direction of each chord change and rhythm accompaniment are still as fresh and unpredictable as life itself. Since I have had a chance to witness the live performances of Return To One, I think that the experience of the live performance are very similar to this recording since there is a "passive" and "active" brevity in each improviser. As each musician steps aside to listen to the other musician make his entire statement, each performer also interpolates carefully what the pervious performer has already played. Several selections on this CD also include simultaneous solos played by the woodwinds as well as a large number of percussion textures including Hubbard's handmade "electronic frame". The poetry on the final fifteen minute track, "Silverfish", also makes this CD eclectic enough to evade being labeled as a straight instrumental jazz recording. On "Hopes and Dreams" it is difficult to determine or "pigeon hole" RTO's song writing style since the melodies and improvisations that "section A" to "section B" back to "section A" loosely range anywhere from 8 to 40 measures. I think this makes the music exciting due to its unpredictability as well as displays RTO's versatility and keen listening skills while exhibiting their confidence as instrumental performers. I recommend buying this short collection of songs with a variety of moods and textures since the musical arrangements cannot be mistaken for any other San Diego jazz quartet.
- Curtis Glatter (spring 2002)