|Photo: Shervin Lainez|
a translucent mineral containing small reflective particles" - the green version is called "the Stone of Opportunity") is her second album for the Biophilia Records label. Ms. Oh has been working on some of this music for the past 13 years: it's written for quartet (saxophonist Greg Ward, pianist Matt Mitchell, percussionist Ches Smith, and the leader), string quartet (violinists Fung Chern Hwei and Sarah Caswell, violist Bennie Von Gutzeit, and cellist Jeremy Harman), plus four tracks feature a vocal quartet (Louisa Rankin, Josh Kyle, Andrew Murray, and Jonathan Skovron with director Gian Slater).
The 14-song program contains absorbing music, pieces that not only make you think but also have great emotion. Ward, who plays both alto and soprano saxes, is such a versatile player. His singing alto enlivens pieces such as "Rest Your Weary Head (Part two)" and "Au Privave" (yes, the Charlie Parker tune): on the former track, he meshes a sweet sound with the flowing strings and wordless vocals while on the latter, he engages in quite an interaction with Mitchell. Notice the pianist's rippling call-and-response with the bass on "Cancrizan" plus his delightful lines underneath Ward's soprano sax and the exclamatory strings on "Song Yue Rao (Moon in the Pines)", a traditional Chinese folk song whose arrangement suggests Far Eastern harmonies and the work of Aaron Copland. Smith, who can whisper on the cymbals as well and pound out hard rhythms, is a stalwart throughout. He goes from subtle to swinging to "beyond" on "Satuit" plus check how delightfully he dances along with the strings and electric bass on "Lilac Chaser" (another track with a splendid piano solo as well).
The album closes with Ms. Oh's rearrangement of Bill Evans's loves ballad "Time Remembered" - the opening three minutes+ belongs to the string quartet before the bassist moves into a solo with strings as support. Mitchell and Smith (brushes) join the players for several more minutes until the string quartet returns to take the piece out. It's an amazing arrangement and really shines a light on the leader's ever-maturing talent.
Linda May Han Oh has created quite a statement with "Aventurine", making music that reverberates in one's mind long after you have heard the last notes. Wonderful musicianship all around; take a chance and dive into these pools of sounds - you won't regret it.
For more information, go to lindamayhanoh.com.
Here's the title track:
Hieronymus Bosch. Painted between 1490-1500, the triptych visualizes the creation of the world, life's joys and sorrows' and the dangers of sin. Carvalho, like the Dutch painter (1450-1515 or 16), juxtaposes light and dark, harmony and atonality, composition and improvisation, complexity and simplicity, to paint his 11-part Suite. He's aided and abetted by an excellent ensemble including André Matos (guitar), Oskar Stenmark (trumpet, flugelhorn), Eitan Gofman (tenor sax, flute, and bass clarinet), Jeremy Powell (soprano sax, tenor sax, and flute), and Rodrigo Recabarren (drums, percussion).
"The Garden of Earthly Delights" closes with "Phowa", a handsome ballad with a a gentle pace, a handsome melody shared by the trumpet and bass clarinet with quiet drums, counterpoint from the bass, and Matos's alternating chords and phrases. It's a gentle landing for an album that covers a lot of musical territory. André Carvalho is an impressive composer and arranger (go to his Bandcamp page to check his earlier releases) plus a fine bassist. This music is a group effort and everyone's voices are heard. Quite an aural treat, a delight!
For more information, go to www.andrecarvalhobass.com.
Here's a track to whet your appetite:
|Photo: Anita Kalikies|
"Contrabajo" is a treat from start to finish. Tango music can be quite attractive with its blend offloading melodies and percussive intensity. While there is no drummer, one can easily see people dancing to these often-rousing sounds. Pablo Aslan's assertive sound, his excellent bowing technique, and articulate pizzicato leads the way while Quarteto Petrus adds vibrant colors and its own splendid melodic qualities. Enjoy!!
Give a listen: