Peter Zummo; Zummo With An XOptimo Music
OMZUMMO 001 LP
Long Playing Record
Originally released in 1985 in an edition of 500 copies, this is the first time this album has been available on vinyl for nearly 30 years. Peter Zummo (born 1948) is an American composer and musician. He plays the trombone, valve trombone, euphonium, synthesizer, other electronic instruments, and also sings. He is associated with the post-minimalist and Downtown aesthetics, and he describes his music as "minimalism plus a whole lot more."
I first discovered Peter Zummo when I first discovered Arthur Russell. I kept hearing THAT trombone sound throughout Arthur's music and through scanning through various label credits made the connection that this Peter Zummo character was a constant collaborator with Arthur. Zummo's trombone sound is one of those things that if I am feeling anxious or pissed off will instantly soothe me and make everything feel alright. So, as well as wanting to hear everything Arthur had touched, I now also wanted to hear everything Mr. Zummo had created too.
It's worth bearing in mind that at this point, in the mid- to late '90s, there was almost zero information online about Arthur or his music or his collaborators. The upside of this was that all his records weren't too hard to track down and weren't going for crazy money. I randomly found Zummo With An X in New York around 1999 and wasn't sure what to expect. I instantly liked the first side, 'Lateral Pass' but side 2's 'Song IV' took my breath away and remains to this day one of my most listened-to records.
Despite the minimal elements, I hear more in it every time I listen to it, and sometimes the perfect interaction between cello, trombone and percussion sounds like the voice of Arthur being beamed in from the aether. It is 20 minutes of sheer bliss that feels as if it could go on for twice as long. Unavailable on vinyl since 1985, it's a great honor to be making this record available again and I can't imagine anyone with even a passing interest in Peter Zummo or Arthur Russell's music failing to be beguiled by this.