Digging It Harder From Afar is New Winds' third album, their first for the Disques Victo label. The avant-garde wind trio of Robert Dick (flutes), Ned Rothenberg (saxophones, bass clarinet), and J.D. Parran (clarinets, bass saxophone) recorded this CD one piece at a time from 1989 to 1994. Each member contributed at least one composition (two in the case of Rothenberg); two group improvisations were added.
This album highlights the mastery of each musician and the group's ability to navigate through complex compositions and pockets of improvisation. "Dovetail" stands out because of the then-not-so-common use of samples of the musicians' playing, prepared by Rothenberg and triggered/treated by guest percussionist Gerry Hemingway. The title track, penned by R.Dick and featuring his beautiful Roland Kirk-inspired flute style, opens the program with a kick. The last number also packs a surprise: "St. Louis Thank You Notes" is a spirited and joyfully twisted blues. Following a path similar to Rova, New Winds eschewed the saxophone quartet's more academic tendencies. Digging It Harder From Afar is not as uplifting as its follow-up, Potion, but it still features beautiful and inventive playing. François Couture
1. Digging it Harder from Afar
3. The Rising and the Swell
4. Angst in the Rangst
6. St. Louis Thank You Notes
Robert Dick - prepared flute, bass flute in F, alto flute.
JD Parran - clarinet, clarinet in A, alto clarinet, bass saxophone
Ned Rothenberg - alto & soprano sax, bass clarinet
Guest Musician on #3:
Gerry Hemingway - digital sampler [S1000 controlled by a Drumkat using samples created by Rothenberg]
All tracks recorded in 1994 except #6 (1989) & # 5 (1992).
Released by Disques Victo in 1994.