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Bebop Spoken There

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Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

CD Review: Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble - The Spirit of Trane

Gilad Atzmon (tenor, soprano, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute); Frank Harrison (piano); Yaron Stavi (bass); Enzo Zirilli (drums) + Sigamos String Quartet.
(Review by Steve T)  
Lots of tributes to the great man during this, the fiftieth anniversary year of his death. But there are constant tributes to him, and when you consider how pervasive his influence has been on the Jazz of the last fifty years and more, perhaps they're just playing Jazz.
After all, we don't think of everything that happened after bebop as a tribute to Bird.
The secret is to do something which enhances or adds to his oeuvre, like the Denys Baptiste album, which focused on the largely neglected late period but risked excluding critics of Late Trane, which is most people.
So does this album achieve any of that? Well, yes and no. 
In a Sentimental Mood opens things up, as you would expect, and it immediately reminded me of Vignette, a comparison I've never spotted before so I must search out the original. A lineage from Duke through Trane to Paul Edis!
It's actually very beautiful but the problem, which runs through the album, emerges very soon. Like our other Steve [H], I love what Bartok (and even Beethoven [sic- Lance]) achieved with a string quartet, which filtered down to Basquiat Strings, Laura Jurd’s first album and presumably lots of other things. But to these ears, the string quartet here functions more like an easy listening ensemble from childhood memories of a seaside spa somewhere near you.
Track two really settles in to the MOR/easy listening/ smooth vibe before Minor Thing brings some much-needed b^II$, at least initially.
Track four is more of whatever it is before Blue Trane picks things up with a quite jarring effect of lone tenor playing the iconic head.
Many great versions of Naima, not least by Denys Baptiste (not from Late Trane), and this one is quite lovely, until you get the strings.
I found Giant Steps almost unrecognisable but I know this particular piece is a much bigger deal to musicians than the rest of us. The album ends with a nice enough ballad, if it wasn't for those pesky strings.
He would have got away with it too, and I have come across successful uses of strings in Jazz, so I'm not one who automatically hates the very idea of it, though I concede it's generally problematic, but this one is not for me. Best played quietly.
Steve T.

1 comment :

Steve T said...

I know Lord Paul is a big Beethoven man, but I don't accept the assertion that Beethoven was intrinsically 'better' than Bartok.
In fact, I have almost no interest in Classical Music before Schoenberg and the Beethoven string quartets are something of an anomaly for me.

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