World traveler, nomad, mystic and violist, Eyvind Kang has created several of the most wildly creative CDs on Tzadik. Here he turns his hand to ten tunes from Zorn’s remarkable Book of Angels. Featuring spectacular orchestral arrangements and brilliant studio techniques, Eyvind has put together a CD unlike anything on the Angels series, highlighting the spiritual side of the Angels project, the singular lyricism of Zorn’s compositions and his own richly inventive musical imagination. One of the most personal and gorgeous installments in the Masada series, Alastor is a modern orchestral reading of the mystical charts from the Book of Angels.
The defining characteristic of any given jazz musician is frequently his sound. The more control a player has over the nature of that sound, the more likely he is to project a distinctive musical personality.
A casual listen might suggest that Floratone is a new Bill Frisell project (and that would be mostly correct), except every indication is that this is a fully collaborative project between Frisell, drummer Matt Chamberlain, and Tucker Martine and Lee Townsend. Composition credits are all shared and they all appear on the front cover. Why is that notable? Because while Frisell and Chamberlain are both credited with "loops" along with their respective instruments, Martine and Townsend receive only "production" credits – no instruments. That's because on Floratone, the pure elements of sound and space are given as much attention as the music itself.
Beautiful Dreamers is Bill Frisell's debut for Savoy Jazz. He left longstanding label Nonesuch in 2009, claiming he needed to release more than one record per year in order to to document his various bands, film score commitments, and commissions. This set features the guitarist in the company of violist Eyvind Kang and drummer Rudy Royston on a program of ten originals and six covers. While this trio is well known for using various effects in concert to expand its sonic palette, and jamming on various tunes for long periods of time, here the musicians are virtually a mirror image of that incarnation, playing with restraint, brevity, and melodic sensitivity.
Alkan was counted in Busoni's pantheon of five romantics alongside Chopin, Schumann, Liszt and Brahms. Brahms and Schumann are the references in the euphoric Grand Duo Concertant - nothing short of a 20 or so minute Sonata in three turbulent movements. This is a work of diving romance and if Alkan had stopped in the style of the first movement then we would have been able to 'place' Alkan. Instead we get a second movement that clamours in bass heavy capering for all the world like a picture of a Black Sabbath. As if to make ‘amends’ the finale is back to the helter-skelter tumble of vivacity we find in the first movement. This euphoria carries over into the Cello Sonata which is in four classically well-tailored movements. Alkan's originality or eccentricity (take your pick) returns for the Adagio which is part sentimental and part affecting. This perhaps offers a parallel with Joseph Holbrooke's chamber works in which sublime ideas and treatment suddenly find themselves up against kitsch music hall ditties. A wild saltarello with grand manner Hungarian gestures from the piano round out the picture.