7 years ago

Volume 14 - Issue 4 - December 2008

Every daysAlan Licht &

Every daysAlan Licht & Aki OndaFamily Vineyard FV8(www .family-vineyard.corn)Midway between virtual soundscape andbruitism, the sounds on this album's five tracksassail and edify listeners' senses with their ownlogic. That's because every texture - from vibratingdrones to sputtering signals to coarseinterjections of unadulterated discord - are createdby the guitar and electronic manipulations·····-···-------- of New York's AlanLicht plus the cassettetapes and electronicsused for particularends by JapanesebornManhattan residentAki Onda.Together, Lichtwho has a degree infilm studies and Onda, who has worked as aphotographer, create cinematic-oriented soundsthat suggest further pictorial images. Perhapsthat's why the two often work with Toronto'sMichael Snow, whose work also encompassescinema and music. Throughout this CDonly Licht's chromatic chording and rasgueadocreate recognizable thematic material.Meanwhile rhythmic undercurrents or commentson the proceedings arrive via Onda's ringmodulator-like electronic flanges or by tapereplicatedresonance of footfalls, voices or musiqueconcrete-like rhythmic intonation.Tiptoe for instance, defines different degreesof sonic understatement. Beginning with intermittentclanging mixed with aviary whistles,broken-octave string clusters outline a theme,which repeats and echoes throughout the piece.After buzzing sequenced loops repeat discordantpolyrhythms, canon-like, gentle guitar arpeggiosmove to the foreground, resulting inconclusive finger-style licks and string-snaps.Grinding pulses, sputters and smears elsewherereinforce the duo's mastery of reconstitutedsound fields. Remaining opaque, the presentationstill leaves plenty of room for individualinterpretation and analysis.Ken WaxmanDownward DancingKarin PlatoIndependent KVP 5555(www is one of those elusive things that is sometimeshard to pin down. But when you hear it,you know it, and I have heard it on Karin Plato'slatest disc,"Downward Dancing".She seats, sheback phrases, sheswings and yet shedoesn't grandstand.The song writing stillgets to shine, as itshould when coveringmasters like Porterand Rodgers & Hart. Other less familiar songscounterbalance the familiar, like the openingGypsy in My Soul and the fun ode to a footwearfetish Shoe Passion Blues, written by Plato.66We don't get to hear a lot of Plato in theseparts, since she makes her home in Vancouver,and moreover, Toronto has a dearth ofrooms where established, grown-up jazzerscan play for more than beer. But for this, hersixth album, she chose to collaborate with Torontomusicians - Nancy Walker, piano,Steve Wallace, bass and Joel Haynes, drums- who turn in their customary sensitive andskilled backing support and strong solos.Horizons EnsembleQuinsin NachoffMusictonic ( RichesThis challenging recording is neither conventionalnor light-hearted, nor easily categorized.Unique in instrumentationanddramatic in nature,K"f ···"'! 1~•r,.1 ,~- - j... • ... ,~~".)... _.the album functionsas a complex seriesoflarge moodypaintings; in order tofully grasp theirbeauty, the listenermust take time andfocus to pay close attention to the details. Theartist's meticulous choice of colours, multifacetedarrangements and dynamic range of emotionunfold slow but sure. Each given theme ispatiently developed, eventually revealing contrastsin dynamics, melodic peaks and valleysand much harmonic interest along the way.Six tracks range in length from 8: 17 to 13:47,from the deep longing of A River RemembersRain to the melting serenity of Glacial Lake tothe personified sweltering heat illustrated inDesert Landscape and African Skies. In contrastto the said climatic pieces, the whollyunpredictable Cartoon-Scape is refreshinglyfrantic, pushing the boundaries of each instrumentin the ensemble. Throughout the albumNachoff's technical prowess on both tenor andsoprano saxophone is on high, at times recallingthe divinity and daring of John Coltrane.His moving energy is only enhanced by thepitch-perfect ensemble assembled here, all ofwhom contribute greatly to the recording's abstractbrand of musical expressionism. Internationallyadmired British pianist John Taylorand Dutch cellist Ernst Reijeseger, as well asCanadian violinists Nathalie Bonin and PamellaAttariwala consistently deliver with precisionand radiance. Although on paper it may seemlike a heavy meal to digest, this meditative albumgets more rewarding with every listen.Ori DaganEXTENDED PLAY -Jazz Icons DVDs - Series 3By Don BrownProduced by Reelin' in the Years Productionsand distributed by NAXOS this third Jazz Iconsboxed set maintains the high level of the firsttwo in the series. It contains eight DVDs includinga bonus disc only available with the set, otherwisethe discs may be purchased individually.The material was filmed between 1958 andWWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COM1975 and it all comes from European televisioncompanies. Running times are in the 60to 90 minute range.Cannonball Adderley - Live in '63The Adderley comes from a pair of sessionsfilmed two days apart, one in Switzerland, theother in Germany, with Cannonball on alto,brother Nat on cornet, Yusef Lateef, tenor,flute and oboe, Joe Zawinul,piano, Sam Jones, bass, andLouis Hayes, drums. Thesextet comes on like a bigband in these superchargedperformances but the Swissprogram, filmed before alive audience, has the edgeover the German showwhich was done in a TV studio.An essential disc.Bill Evans - Live in '64-'75The Evans features five separate performancesby the introspective pianist filmed inSweden, France and Denmark.His sidemen includebassists Chuck Israels,Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersenand Eddie Gomez,and drummers Larry Bunker,Alan Dawson, MartyMorell and Eliot Zigmund.At the French concert altoistLee Konitz is addedfor My Melancholy Baby. Highlights includethe trio's interpretations of Detour Ahead, IfYou Could See Me Now and 'Round Midnight.Two of the segments are in colour.Lionel Hampton - Live in '58This concert, filmed in Belgium, featuresHampton's 17-piece orchestra. Of all the discsin the set it 's probably the weakest and I'm notsure if it' s Hampton's fault or Belgian TV's.With this leader one expectsan outrageous yet entertainingshow, but whatwe get is pretty tame byHamp's standards. Toomuch time is taken up witha 'history of jazz' and exizectedHampton flagwaverslike Flying Homeare missing. Somethingtells me this was a TV director's decision.Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Live in '63 & '67Multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk'smagic has been captured here in Belgium,Holland and Norway. His accompanists arepianists George Gruntz and Ron Burton, bassistsGuy Pederson and Niels-Henning OrstedPedersen, and drummers Daniel Humair andAlex Riel. If you were never lucky enough tohave caught Kirk in personthis one's a must. Needlessto say watching someoneplay several saxophonessimultaneously can be fascinating,but what's farmore important is thatKirk always delivers on amusical level.D ECEMBER 1 2008 - FEBR UARY 7 2009

Oscar Peterson - Live in '63, '64 & '65The Oscar Peterson trio, Peterson, RayBrown and Ed Thigpen together with a coupleof guests, are seen in concerts filmed in Sweden,Denmark and Finland. Trumpeter RoyEldridge sits in on one number at the Swedishconcert while Clark Terryis present on all but onepiece from Finland. Heplays trumpet and flugelhornon three numbers,then puts down his horns to'vocalize' on Mumbles, thefamous blues parody he'drecorded only a year earlierwith Peterson. Peterson's trio performs here like a well-oiled machine,sometimes a tact too well-oiled for thislistener. In places I get the feeling everything'sbeen pre-planned, leaving absolutelynothing to chance.Sonny Rollins - Live in '65 & '68There are two Danish concerts on the RollinsDVD. In 1965 the 'saxophone colossus' isbacked by Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen onbass and Alan Dawson ondrums. In 1968 Kenny Drewis added on piano, Pedersen'sback on bass, and Albert"Tootie" Heath is the drummer.In both performancesideas pour forth like waterfrom the open tap of Sonny'sfervid imagination. It's instructiveto watch the differ- ,ent ways the great tenorman works with andwithout a piano. This one's another must-havedisc.Nina Simone - Live in '65 & '68Expect a pair of riveting performances on thisone. The first comes from Holland, the secondfrom England. In both localesMs. Simone plays torapt audiences. There' ll nodoubt be purists acquiringthis set who'll ask whetheror not Nina Simone belongsin a collection of jazz artists.I pity them. Forgetabout categories and beprepared for a rare treat.Bonus Disc - Sonny Rollins '59, RahsaanRoland Kirk '63 & Nina Simone '65Often when a collection contains a "bonus" discwhat one gets is incomplete scraps and inferiorout-takes. Well, this one's jam-packed withfirst-rate material. I'dstrongly recommend purchasingthe boxed set ofJazz Icons. It 's the onlyway you'll get this bonusdisc which contains stellarperformances by SonnyRollins in Sweden andHolland, Rahsaan RolandKirk in Holland and NinaSimone in Sweden.EXTENDED PLAY-NOTATED MUSIC ANDIMPROVISATIONBy Ken WaxmanSo-called classical music and jazz have had anuneasy relationship since the beginning of thelast century. Notated musicians yearned forjazz's rhythmic and improvisational freedom,while jazzers coveted orchestral colors and financialsupport. Until the late 20th century,most adaptations of each other's music by jazzor classical players were misguided attempts atpopularity. Now a new generation of musiciansis comfortable in both idioms. On the improvisedmusic side - as these CDs indicate - performerssubtly subvert notated themes producingstatements that draw from both strains whileadding something extra.Interestingly, three of the discs here - theMike Westbrook, Uri Caine and ReinholdFriedl - were commissioned by European festivalseager for original takes on traditionalthemes. The fourth - Jugendstil (ESP-DiskESP 4048 - includes afive-part suite influenced by Elliott Carter, whoturns 100 December 11. Reminiscent of thecomposer's clear-textured chamber works, theCarter Variations played by clarinetist ChrisSpeed, saxophonist Chris Cheek and bassist/composer Stephane Furic Leibovici replicateCarter's complexcounterpoint. Surging r,,~._-~ 1 -1,u-.------.on carefully modulat- '"'-'JJtl!I!\"ed, well-spaced lines, 1ro1o~u -w....,c,the program hitches 1•~•011,kintertwining woodwindharmonies withthe bass' chromaticpercussiveness. Withorganized dissonance'r""expressed by shrillingdiaphragm vibrato and adagio glissandi, stringpops keep the presentation on an even keel.Clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre is another influence,as Three Kinds of Folk salutes his chamberjazz.With Leibovici producing guitar-like arpeggios,the tonal centre shifts constantlythroughout the exposition, development and recapitulation.Even more impressive is Les Nuitsde la Chapoule, a clarinet and tenor saxophoneconcerto. Lustrous and liquid, the compositionencourages Cheek's altered pitch vibrations.More elaborate is Mike Westbrook'sWestbrook-Rossini (hatOLOGY, performed by two saxophones,two brass, drums, vocalist Kate Westbrook,and the leader/arranger playing pianoand tuba. Someone who composes for classicalensembles, big bands and theatre companies,Westbrook took Gioacchino Rossini's operaWilliam Tell, as hissource material -five versions of theWilliam Tell Overtureare featured. Hethen contorted othersof the composer'sworks into theproject. The Barberof Seville Overture for instance, finds PeterWhyman shading his alto saxophone tone as ifplaying a musette, while the cascading themedisplays such dance rhythms as the gigue, thehora and the cha-cha. L 'amoroso E Sincero Lindorouses heraldic trombone tones, paradegrounddrumming and high-frequency pianochording to introduce Kate Westbrook's vocals,backed in double counterpoint by rumbling tubas.After swelling harmonies back Whyman'sspiky reed bites and Westbrook's strummedchords, the track concludes with Kate Westbrookgrowling syllables in concert with pianosyncopation. The most notable William TellOverture utilizes tuba pumps, sopranino saxophonistLindsay Cooper's stop-time Dixielandbreaks and slapping drum beats.An affectionate parody, Reinhold Friedl/Ensemble Zeitkratzer's Cheap Imitation(Zeitkratzer Records ZKR up the melodramaticand cabaretroots of Arnold Schoenberg'sExpressionistcycle of recitationswith music PierrotLunaire. Sometimessounding like an adultsonlyPeter and the Wolf, the two woodwinds,three strings, piano and percussion are asprominent as the satiric yet harrowing narrationby male soprano Markus Weiser.Switching from first to third persons andmodulating his voice so it resembles a yearninglover, a crotchety elder or a sinister villain,Weiser's theatricalism personalizes theGerman lyrics. Along the way his be! cantotone vibrates or stutters contrapuntally alongwith Maurice de Martin's vibraharp strikes,Frank Gratkowski's coloratura clarinet timbresand Friedl's slapped piano keys . Withsporadic pauses as well as cooing orchestralcries, Zeitkratzer's version honors a composerwho stated that in a valid performance"the tone color means everything and thenotes nothing".Most elaborate of the discs is Uri Caine'sThe Othello Syndrome(Winter & Winter W &W 910, created forthe 47th Biennale di Venezia. Featuring trumpet,clarinet, violin, drums, guitar, bass,electronics, fourvocalists and Caineon keyboards, it'san idiosyncratictake on GiuseppeVerdi's operaOthello. Segueingfrom one interludeto another this Syndromeis conveyedthrough ever-shifting orchestrations andCaine' s pianism, sequentially tremolo andjazzy or chromatic and dramatic. Envelopingtraditional material from soprano JosefineLindstrand as Desdemona and lyrical violinistJoyce Hammann, the suite includes a denseelectronic soundscape; a street-wise recita-D ECE M BER 1 2008 FEBRUARY 7 2009WWW, THEWHOLENOTE.COM67

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