Daily Archives: February 7, 2011

All About Jazz Italy review by Vincenzo Roggero

Adam Lane’s Full Throttle Orchestra – Ashcan Rantings (CF 203)
Valutazione: 4.5 stelle 
Se la sezione delle trombe è formata da tue tipi come Nate Wooley e Taylor Ho Bynum si insinua il ragionevole dubbio che l’orchestra in questione del tutto “normale” proprio non sia. Se poi il contrabbassista, compositore e leader ha il nome di Adam Lane, una presenza costante “coast to coast ” nei progetti più interessanti della musica improvvisata nordamericana, il dubbio diventa certezza.

Si potrebbe dire che se c’è un elemento, un essenza che pervade con i suoi aromi l’intero lavoro questo sia il blues. Ma non pensiate ad un album di blues o sul blues, sareste clamorosamente fuori strada. Si, è vero, più di una volta la classica struttura della musica del diavolo, qualche cadenza riconoscibile che ci rimanda ad uno stato del profondo sud compare, ma il blues lo si ritrova essenzialmente in quel misto di indolenza ed energia, tristezza e gioia che ne costituiscono la cifra stilistica originale.

Gioia che, come ricorda Lane nelle note di copertina, dovrebbe elevare musicisti e ascoltatori ad un livello assoluto di piacere e divertimento. Risultato raggiunto pienamente, perché il disco combina in maniera sublime il piacere dell’ascolto con la qualità della musica, il battere dei piedi con quello del cuore, il pensiero con l’azione, i lampi geniali dei singoli con la compattezza dell’insieme, la peculiarità della scrittura basata su cellule melodiche imprevedibili e lo sviluppo determinato dall’inventiva degli interpreti.

Memory Select review by Craig M

More from the Bloodcount Vaults

Tim Berne – Insomnia (CF 215)
Tim Berne’s Bloodcount, which disbanded sometime around 2000, left a wealth of long-form pieces to pore over — 20- and 40-minute compositions (or longer!) with compelling composed segments and spellbinding improvisation. The quartet tears it up on the rough and ragged 3-CD set, Unwound, and they’re presented in more studious, pristine form on the essential Paris Concert trilogy (still available on Winter & Winter).

And the basement tapes from that 1994-1998′ish timeframe keep coming. Berne put out a 2-CD set, Seconds, featuring tracks a mere 10 or so minutes long (but accompanied by a DVD of the 51-minute “Eye Contact”).

Now there’s Insomnia, two half-hour pieces featuring the five-man Bloodcount team plus three guests. It adds up to what looks like a chamber ensemble, including trumpet (Baikida Carroll), clarinet (Chris Speed), cello (Erik Friedlander), violin (Dominique Pifarely), and acoustic guitar (Marc Ducret). Recorded in 1997 after a sleepless night on Berne’s part, as he recounted for Downtown Music Gallery (click here and scroll down), the album delivers two long-form suites from the vein that Bloodcount so skillfully mined.

There’s a familiarity to the moments when the group comes in for a landing, easing into a composed section after playing freely. It’s not like Bloodcount is the only group that’s ever done that, but something about those moments on here sounds like Bloodcount. It’s as if the core quintet is the hive mind directing the piece, even though the three guest members each bring strong personality to the music.

The sound palette is considerably wider than Bloodcount’s, though. “The Proposal” starts out velvety and chamber-like, drawing from the same source as Bloodcount’s track, “The Other.” Ducret’s acoustic guitar adds a soft, chiming texture that I’ve never heard with Bloodcount (he’d always been on electric). There’s a particularly nice moment early on where he doubles up with Michael Formanek’s bass, splashing the occasional chord against the plucked bass strings and a lightly dancing Carroll solo on trumpet.

About halfway through “The Proposal,” Ducret launches a peppy, strings-heavy theme that leads to a particularly symphonic passage where trumpet, guitar, cello, sax, and clarinet are each playing fragments of themes. It’s a carefully arranged and fast-moving segment that shines. It’s through moments like that that Berne’s suites, at their best, exude an aura of control that I’ve always enjoyed. You feel like you’re traversing a carefully laid-out plan, an invisible schematic.

“Open, Coma” opens unlike anything Bloodcount ever did — with acoustic guitar and trumpet dominating the scene, followed by a frenzied Pifaly violin solo. It’s only 6 minutes into the 29-minute piece that a Berne-like theme pops up, returning the song to familiar ground.

Like “The Proposal,” “Open Coma” goes through a gauntlet of mood swings. Its composed themes feel grander, almost like dark marches sometimes, and the improvising seems more of a free-for-all, touching on that orchestra-tuning-up sound more often than “The Proposal” did. Much of the second half is taken up by a good, long Berne solo, lively and kicking, showing none of the ill effects of sleeplessness.

One odd thing I noticed was how little I noticed Jim Black. He’s there, but it wasn’t until his solo at the end of “Open, Coma” that I realized I hadn’t been paying attention to him. I guess there was just that much else going on.