In jazz circles, New York is known for cultivating the sounds of the cutting edge; club Roulette has shown a particular seismographic ability to know what's happening at the fringes of jazz. If anything, the release of Hans Tammen Third Eye Orchestra
underlines this with striking clarity.
An innovative avant-garde guitar guru, Hans Tammen is mostly known for his elusive technique of endangered guitar, but he's also the visionary behind the interesting contemporary avant-garde ensemble, The Third Eye Orchestra. Hans Tammen Third Eye Orchestra presents a live concert recorded at the Roulette. The pure thrill of exploring a world of sound really shines through on this release, which is nothing short of breathtaking.
The idea behind The Third Eye Orchestra is to gather some of the most exciting musicians on the improvising scene and let them perform music of instant composition under Tamman's guidance. The result is an otherworldly music that feels both thoroughly composed and purely improvised. Formally, the album is split into two sections: "Antecedent" and "Consequent." Each section is divided into six parts and every part brings forth different solo voices. "Part V - Verrano," for example, features Mark Feldman's awe-inspiring violin, who lets the notes soar like birds above the ground, spreading the light against the night sky of Denman Maroney's muffled, repeated keyboard figures.
The conclusion to "Antecedent" is just as impressive, with vocalist Dafna Naphtali chanting over washes of violin sounds and gentle noise. This is the language of poetic creation, with words compressed to pure sound: humming, scatting and screaming.
"Consequent" starts with Briggan Krauss' honking baritone sax and settles into an abstract groove, only to evolve into a beautiful dialogue between Maroney and violist Stephanie Griffin.
The orchestra includes a wealth of musical voices, but what's most amazing is how the individuals intuitively find their places in the sheets of sound, alternating between intimate, whispering confessions and cacophonic chaos. Overall, the mood of the album is tranquil, with rich textures and explorations of sound, rhythm and melody.
Ideally, music should appeal to all senses but it is as if this music actually instills a sixth sense or, perhaps, a third eye. What is cultivated then, is a new way of listening, which is what the historical avant-garde was always abouta new way of perceiving the world. Hans Tammen Third Eye Orchestra is a complete work of art that has the ability to change the world: a masterpiece of musical evocation.
Personnel: Mari Kimura: violin; Mark Feldman: violin; Stephanie Griffin: viola; Tomas Ulrich: cello; Briggan Krauss: alto saxophone, baritone saxophone; Marty Ehrlich: bass clarinet, alto saxophone, flute; Robert Dick: flute, contrabass flute; Detlef Landeck: tuba; Dafna Naphtali: voice, live sound processing; Ursel Schmidt: piano, keyboards; Denman Maroney: piano, keyboards; Stomu Takeishi: bass; Satoshi Takeishi: percussion; Hans Tammen: concept, real-time arrangement.