Bassist, composer and educator Daren Burns (John “Drumbo” French of Captain Beefheart) has released Fear is not the Natural State of Civilized People, on Urban Nerds Records, a label Burns founded in 2009. Burns’ first solo album of original instrumental material, this intense and expressive 4-part suite realizes a creative path that began in 2006. The recording highlights Burns' unique visual composition style and displays his use of structured improvisation. Burns uses this technique to maintain compositional control while allowing the performers to “dialogue” with the material and contribute their own musicality, concepts, and spirit.
Described as a “post-fusion recording for the new world”, Fear is not the Natural State of Civilized People, features some of the best recorded work from the brash, multi-textured, avant-garde jazz trumpet player, Wadada Leo Smith (AACM, Anthony Braxton, John Zorn). It also includes longtime collaborators, and fellow California Institute of the Arts alumni, Sarah Phillips (piano), Scott Collins (guitar and loops) and Craig Bunch (drums). The albums unique electroacoustic sound spans stark, haunting ballads and dream-state meditations, to up-tempo frenzies with driving grooves; all with imaginative solos that are marked by, Cecil Taylor-esque piano flourishes, imaginative post-tonal guitar backdrops, and a responsive, agile rhythm section.
About Fear is not the Natural State of Civilized People, Burns commented, “The title of this work is a quote from the Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi, and the music is my comment on the US post 9/11.” Besides Aung San Suu Kyi, the album is dedicated to, and inspired by, Goyathlay (Geronimo) the great Apache leader, Mohandas Gandhi the Indian revolutionary, Fela Kuti the Nigerian fighter of government corruption, and anyone else who believes that “life based on fear is not an option.” Burns also stated, “These four individuals put their lives on the line for their beliefs. How many others are really willing do that? Freedom comes with a cost, and you have to be willing to bet your life on it.”
The recording is the fourth release on the Urban Nerds label. Other releases include: Have We Met?, the debut by piano trio, 3 Squares and Beautiful Dreamer Vol. I & II by improvisatory, spoken word ensemble, Brandy Repairs Utah. The upcoming recording by Onibaba, Daren Burns’ ensemble with Craig Bunch, Scott Collins, Vinny Golia and George McMullen, will be the label’s fifth release in late 2012.
Fear is not the Natural State of Civilized People is currently available through Daren's website, darenburns.com and through online retailers Bandcamp, CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon.