Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Canada Day in New Haven + CD Pick
The group has 2 CDs, the latest "Canada Day 2" released by Songlines Recordings (a label based in Canada - naturally!) and are now working on its 3rd recording, adding 3 members to create an octet. But, it's back to 5 for the Firehouse gig. Canada Day will play 2 sets, 8:30 and 10 p.m. For ticket information, go to firehouse12.com or call 203-785-0468. To find out more about Harris Eisenstadt, go to www.harriseisenstadt.com.
The casual listener, not confronted with the concept of this music, might find this a charming and somewhat moody collection of jazz improvisations. But, dig deeper and hear how Blaser takes the themes and allows them to move in new directions. The lovely "Lamento della Ninfa" that opens the program sets the tone (one of thoughtful experimentation) with the melody line given a gentle ride, though the first "voice" you hear is a simple drum pattern. And this music can go outward - listen as Blaser and Motian engage in a lively conversation during parts of "Si Dolce e l'Tormento." The drummer rarely if ever pulled punches and he really pushes his cohorts here. The trombonist reads the theme using multi-phonics while Lossing responds with an impressionistic solo sojourn. Morgan is the glue on this CD, holding down the bottom and adding his full tone to melodic counterpoint. Pay attention to the way he moves through "Balletto Secondo - Retirata", his probing bass lines pushing against Lossing; then Blaser rises over the rhythm section, initially with the melody then with his solo. "Ritornello" is offered twice. The first, and longer, version has an abstract feel in how Blaser and Lossing play the theme section but, underneath them, Motian is a subtle "swinger" and Morgan a slow "walker." Version #2 is a lovely ballad, much closer to the original, played by just the trombonist and bassist.
So much goes on in this music that one should take his or her time to allow to sink into the mind. While the pieces have many quiet moments, there is an intensity of creativity that imbues each track. Messrs. Blaser, Motian, Morgan and Lossing all make cogent statements throughout and always serve the arrangements with a heady mixture of respect and joy. To find out more, go to www.samuelblaser.com.
Speaking of Paul Motian, the crew at Destination Out has added its voices to the many tributes to the late drummer. They also post several hard-to-get musical pieces. Take a look and listen at destination-out.com.