This cd-length piece was my attempt to come to grips with what I consider to be the single most important play in theatrical history, a work which had a profound influence on me, my music, and my writing (Woyzek by George Buchner). The session went well, though, sadly, it was my first and last documented recording with pianist/synth player Andy Shapiro. Andy, a Vermonter and one of the truly great people I have ever met and known – he was a kind and generous teacher, brilliant musician, and good friend – died a few years later of brain cancer, before we could pursue any additional musical collaborations (which were also hindered by my moving to Maine and the resultant and nearly complete musical and cultural isolation, but that’s another story).
Julius Hemphill was also supposed to be on this date, but he was quite sick by this time and on a kidney transplant list.. And this was, if I have the chronology correct, my second recording with the incredible Roswell Rudd, not to mention my first official recording with trumpeter Randy Sandke. I have known Randy since the late 1970s (he played at my wedding in 1982) and he was, and remains, one of the best musicians I have ever known, an incredible soloist, wonder interpreter, a humane and empathetic collaborator. Ben Goldberg on clarinet was something of an afterthought; I always look, when recording, for something different, an element added to keep things interesting, a musician I have not worked with before or someone both stylistically divergent yet musically right. Ben was/is a great free-Klezmer player, and was working at this time with John Zorn, for whom he had traveled East at this time (he lives in California and we recorded this at Systems 2 in Brooklyn).
Writing and arranging this stuff was hell, the first time (or maybe the second) that I had done so for so many players, though it came out ok. As usual, my regular rhythm section of Jeff Fuller on bass and Ray Kaczynski was nothing short of perfect.