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ISSUE 117 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/10/2003

Hagedorn's CD sounds "Solid"

By Carl Schroeder
Staff Writer

Friday, October 10, 2003

Associate Music Professor Dave Hagedorn is the featured artist on “Solid Liquid,” an energetic new CD recording to be released this fall. In 12 tracks of jazz standards, classical arrangements and new compositions, Hagedorn shows off an impressive array of styles and techniques on his signature instrument, the vibraphone. Accompanying Hagedorn on the CD are local performers Chris Bates, JT Bates, Phil Hey and Tom Lewis.

“These are tunes I really like to play,” said Hagedorn, describing the songs on “Solid Liquid.” The CD includes compositions by Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus and others. Hagedorn also composed one track for the album, the snake-like “Blues 12,” which is based on a 12-tone row. In addition, the album’s title track was composed by Chris Bates, who plays bass on four of the CD’s tunes.

Some highlights of the disc include Hagedorn’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink solo over the tricky 13/8 rhythms of Bob Rockwell’s “Pentandria,” the fiendishly catchy bass line of “Boogie Stop Shuffle” by Mingus, and the understated intensity of the Monk standard “Ugly Beauty.” “I like the spacious sound of that tune,” said Hagedorn, regarding the Monk piece.

By using a variety of mallets and motor speeds throughout the album, Hagedorn allows listeners to explore the wide expressive range of the vibraphone. One standout track, “Touch her soft lips,” highlights the instrument’s romantic capacity in a solo rendition of a tune originally written by William Walton for the 1945 film version of “Henry V.”

Hagedorn, who conducts the jazz bands and percussion ensemble at St. Olaf, received degrees in percussion performance from the Eastman School of Music and the New England Conservatory. In demand as a professional performer in the Twin Cities area, his talents have been featured on several ensemble recordings, including the Grammy-nominated album “The African Game,” recorded with the George Russell Living Time Orchestra. “Solid Liquid” is Hagedorn’s first solo CD release.

Although Hagedorn is an accomplished performer on a range of percussion instruments, the vibraphone is his favorite. His dedication to the instrument dates back to his youth, when heavy competition for drumming gigs forced him to look for a more unusual instrument. Hagedorn cites vibraphonists Bobby Hutcherson, Milt Jackson, Gary Burton and Mike Mainieri as role models and influences.

“Solid Liquid” is being released by Artegra, a new Twin Cities label that showcases local performers of jazz, classical and traditional music. Taking advantage of new “Super Audio CD” recording technology, “Solid Liquid” features high-resolution surround sound, which is ideal for recreating the subtle variety of sounds the vibraphone can produce. Despite its cutting-edge format, however, the CD is playable on any standard audio device.

Artegra’s founder Warren Sampson approached Hage-dorn in Fall 2001 about recording a solo CD, and subsequently provided funding while giving Hagedorn artistic control of the project. The album was recorded in August 2002 at Hamline University’s Sundin Hall in St. Paul.

With the release of “Solid Liquid” approaching and Artegra’s emergence as a major player in the local recording scene, Hagedorn believes Minnesota is home to a thriving jazz community. “Jazz is really vibrant in the Twin Cities,” says Hagedorn, noting the presence of four major jazz clubs which all attract national talent. “There’s more interest in live performance today, and people are still interested in experimenting with the different forms [of jazz].”

A “Solid Liquid” CD release event will take place at the Artist’s Quarter in St. Paul at 9:00 p.m. on Oct. 10 and 11. Hagedorn will perform tunes from “Solid Liquid” as well as other music on both nights.

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