Daily Archives: March 18, 2010

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

Scott Fields Ensemble – Fugu (CF 171)

Scott Fields and Chamber Jazz Interplay, 2010 Style

Some music is just not trying to be in your face. It’s music that has a somewhat refined sensibility, and it is quite serious about that it sets about doing. That would be nylon guitarist Scott Fields’ new record in a nutshell. Fugu (Clean Feed), brings Fields together with a chamber improvisation ensemble of Geoff Brady, percussion, John Padden, acoustic bass, Robert Stright, vibes, and Matt Turner on cello. This somewhat unusual instrumentation and the music it plays reminds slightly of the old Chico Hamilton ensembles that had the cello-bass-guitar-drums-winds configuration, but only because this is music of a cooler temperature, dialogic construction and similar instrumentation. It is chamber improvisation of a tonal sort and it does not feature individual pyrotechnical displays. Beyond all that though this is music of today.

There are compositional elements but the group improvisation concept is at the forefront. It’s not a head-solo-head sort of structure. Melodic and harmonic motives come in and out in the collective mix. And always there is a feeling of spontaneity and an almost classical dialogue. There are freely phrased passages and also regularly pulsating time segments. All the musicians are interesting and contribute to the total effect, which has the feeling of some friends getting together for what turns out to be a most stimulating conversation.

This is music that needs attentive listening. It is unusual and quite intricate. Oh, and Scott Fields plays some very interesting lines. A good listen. . .

Tomajazz review by Pachi Tapiz

Scott Fields Ensemble – Fugu (CF 171)

Fugu: un tesoro escondido de Scott Fields
Fugu es uno de los primeros trabajos grabados por Scott Fields a su nombre. Fue Publicado en su momento en Geode Records, la discográfica del propio Fields, para desaparecer posteriormente del mapa. Tal y como ha ocurrido en alguna otra ocasión puntual, el sello portugués Clean Feed lo ha puesto de nuevo en circulación.

Los cinco temas de Fields, que aparecen acompañados de unas liner notes que en su intento de ser graciosas no tardan nada de pasar a ser un tanto pesadas, permiten disfrutar del magnífico trabajo del guitarrista tanto en la composición como en los arreglos. A pesar del aire camerístico de los temas (a lo que ayuda la presencia de tres instrumentos de cuerda, con el violonchelo tomando un papel preponderante a lo largo de toda la grabación y con Fields aplicándose en la guitarra eléctrica con cuerdas de nylon), en ellos hay espacio abundante para unas improvisaciones y unas interacciones magníficas por parte de los cuatro músicos. En grabaciones de tal nivel es difícil señalar algún tema en particular, aunque si tuviera que elegir alguno bien podría ser el que da título a la grabación, “The Plagiarist” que es donde se alcanza la máxima tensión del disco, o “A Carrot Is a Carrot”, el más extenso y con aire un tanto melancólico.

Fugu es un nuevo acierto de Clean Feed. En este caso no por el camino de las novedades, sino por el de las reediciones. Es todo un placer poder disfrutar de pequeños tesoros escondidos, hasta ahora, como éste.

Cadence Magazine review by David Dupont

Steve Adams Trio – Surface Tension (CF 131)
Steve Adams’ trio with bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Scott Amendola operates with freewheeling melodic intent. As a composer Adams provides the sparest frameworks in which he and his colleagues operate, and they all make the most of the prompts, springing forth with lyrical invention that may tug at tonality but never loses its grip on emotional urgency. That’s most obvious on “Little Ballad,” a melancholy piece with Adams in the lead on bass flute backed by percussive splashes that accent the stillness and Filiano’s ringing bass commentary that blossoms into a solo declaration. The lyrical cast holds true even when the trio kicks up the tempo, as on the Free Bop romp “Squelch” where the trio swings loosely and joyously. And Amendola is just as tuned into the sense of thematic unity as his bandmates, evident in the way his solo tumbles organically out of the head on “Squeamish.” For his part, Filiano delivers a beauty of a solo, full of folk implications to open “Surface Tension.” Even the wild closer with its ebbing and flowing groove spews melodic bits. Adams, who divides his time on all his horns here, is equally fierce on sopranino during the opening minutes and on strangled, groaning baritone as he drives the session home.
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