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Sunday, November 13, 2016

CD Review: Rallidae – Turned, And Was

Angela Morris (tenor sax, vocals, composer, lyrics); Alex Samaras (lead vocals); Dustin Carlson (guitar, vocals); Scott Colberg  (bass, vocals); Nico Dann (drums, vocals). 
(Review by Ann Alex).
Following on from their EP Paper Birds, I’m pleased to review Rallidae’s full-length CD, entitled Turned And Was. I loved this recording too, which the band describes as ‘kaleidoscopic’, with ‘effects in turn sweet and unsettling’. Listen out for improvisational jazz, hints of ambiance, African keyboard riffs, wispy noises, New Orleans funeral music, plain chant, musical box sounds, and even singing which reminded me of the wonderful dissonance in many of the songs from The Incredible String Band (remember them from the hippy 1960’s?).

The music will appeal to lovers of improvisational jazz especially, and to all listeners with a wide accepting taste in music. For example, I loved the track Awake, which portrays a state of mind when you cannot sleep but are only half awake.  Tiny bell-like sounds accompany the repeated words ‘the things I wish you’d say are keeping me awake’ with snatches of the words from other voices, and the bass played slowly, ending in a final long tone, when perhaps he did fall asleep at last.
Now I Walk In Beauty has the voices singing a canon with an early music madrigal-like feel, concluding with bell- like music and a drone. The tracks don’t feature the usual jazz solos that we’re used to but there is fine playing from everyone. The other tracks, which I’d describe as a life enhancing style of music, include Drumheller (African piano sound); Take My hand Off The Wheel ( the most jazzy track, with a definite swing, to start with, anyway); Bird (including skilled tenor sax); Compass (new Orleans funeral music with a few quirks); Long Picture (good guitar solo); Sea Ice (clever depiction of coldness with high pitched tones); Still Breathing (builds to a climax, then quietly rounds off the CD well).
Angela Morris wrote all the music and lyrics, and the whole band was involved in the improvisations. Her music has been described as being between avant-jazz and pop. Ms Morris studied composition and is involved in other projects, including co-leading a 17 piece big band.  A lady of very varied talents.
The recording is available as a CD from November 18 and also as a digital download from NYC based Gold Bolus Recordings.

Ann Alex

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