K i m R e i t h  home   compositions    Bail! (CD)    compositional notes on "Bail!"   order    reviews     bio    links    contact   résumé    edmund j wood

Edmund J. Wood died in March of 2002. Here's a review I wrote of his MP3.com site, for my column "Undiscovered MP3.com," which appeared on the website ModernJazz.com. Both Edmund's MP3.com site and ModernJazz.com no longer exist...


Undiscovered MP3.com
By Kim Reith


Edmund J. Wood


This Bronx-born, Swiss transplant's site has it all - over 50 pieces ranging from sophisticated free jazz improvisations to smooth Latin jazz tracks and sensitive classical guitar lullabies - all with Wood's eccentric imprint. The photo alone, of Edmund standing amidst his budding pot plants, is worth a trip to his site. But check out the sounds - what has this guy been smokin'?! Six albums are available, each $6.99. Wood has played with a long list of big names, including Kenny Kirkland, Dave Liebman and Roswell Rudd. Stellar tracks include "Igor Walked In," "Immanent Domain," an ultra-fast "Warp Drive," and the following highly individualistic tracks:

"Perpetual Motion" (8:16; Wood: fretless bass, drum track; Ryan Oliver: tenor sax) opens with a slow, wailing free duet between Edmund and Ryan. Edmund's liberal use of both space and pedal points give the saxophonist great freedom to extemporize. Ryan makes use of a variety of interesting textures, at times rough, gravely, and wavering. The piece picks up and moves into a more aggressive mood when the two begin to swing over Gershwin's "Summertime" theme. Two-thirds of the way through "Perpetual Motion," a "free-jazz" drum track emerges, further building excitement. Wood's long, virtually unrepeating 126-beat drum loops sound like a free-jazz drummer playing implied time, and characterize many of his tracks.

"For J.P." (10:53; Wood: guitar, fretless bass, drum track; Ryan Oliver: tenor sax) develops off a simple repeated theme, showing the influence of Ornette Coleman's ideas on improvisational motifs. Edmund vamps behind Oliver throughout the saxophonist's free solo. Though many of Edmund's pieces rely on one underlying tonal center, harmonic interest is maintained by frequent excursions outside. Pieces tend to build excitingly in pace and tension, this one included. Like his mentor Ornette, Edmund's guitar solos are both outside and bluesy, never cerebral.

"Puppet Man" (4:45; Wood: classical guitar; Lee Weingerl: contra-bass). On this track Edmund's playing is highly reminiscent of free-jazz guitarist James "Blood" Ulmer. But Edmund's use of classical guitar, which he studied as a child, is unusual in this genre. Once again, a "free-jazz" drum loop pops up about three minutes into the piece, propelling things along and adding cohesion to the track.

I'm Melting - Listen to a stream of one of our collaborations. (c) and (p) 2001, by Kim Reith and Edmund J. Wood.


 K i m R e i t h  home   compositions    Bail! (CD)    compositional notes on "Bail!"   order    reviews     bio    links    contact   résumé    edmund j wood