Hans Glawischnig: Jahira (2012)
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The tonal riches of Hans Glawischnig's Jahira are so prodigious that the album feels like a devastatingly beautiful canvas that remains constantly wet and therefore changing and shape-shifting. Glawischnig has always given notice of his propensity for colors as he held together the bottomand sometimes the topregister of the harmonics of many breathtaking musical charts. Now in supreme command of melody (which he generously shares with a pair of saxophones) and rhythm (which he shares with a drum set), the bassist seems to have developed all of these facets of song both exponentially and all at once. Thus the sublimely talented bassist has created more than an alluring song-edifice; he has dappled his canvas with a whole landscape of incredibly beautiful music.
The crowning aspect of all of this is that Glawischnig, together with the support of two wonderful musicians seems to found a way to inhabit several musical dimensions at once. There is the known dimension of the waves of sound beamed at the ear and then there is the spectral dimension of sound that delivers an enormous amount of color and tone directly into the human soul. Here melodies, hidden in bass lines and the inner rhythms of melodies, as well as the multiplicity of swelling polyphony tangles with the harp that sounds in the other world of the soul. Listening intently it is possible to hear what Glawischnig hears.
His notes are at once single and multiple, because they echo with many shades of sound and feeling. His lines are sometimes long and ponderous; filled with elemental sadness as in "Ballad No.2," or unbridled energy and aggression, as in "Crow Point." At other times they are short, like ventricular fibrillations, and feel as if they will shatter the fragile silence within the chest. "Once I Hesitate" and the microscopic portrait of a woman, Sam Rivers' "Beatrice" are singularly beautiful examples of this loping dynamic. Glawischnig plays this on an instrument that can be both acoustic and electric, and which carries a phenomenal amount of textures that unfold diaphanously.
And that is not all. Saxophonist Samir Zarif is a master of tonal beauty. His dry voice somehow finds a way to sound like a myriad of hornsprincipally a saxophone, of course, but also like a haunted bassoon and an oboe offering shades and textures of its own to both saxophone and bassoon personas. And Eric Doob is not simply a drummer, he is a magician who animates sticks and skin and the brittle circular bodies of the drums and shimmering cymbals as well. His take on Bud Powell's "Celia" is nothing short of a monumental feat, as he charges through Zarif's final choruses and then makes off on his own into the unchartered recesses of the song.
Jahira is, then, a feast for the ear as well as the heart and soulan event to be celebrated with resounding joy, for Hans Glawischnig has arrived.
Track Listing: Once I Hesitate; Jahira; Ballad No. 2; Crow Point; Calabria; Celia; Alondra; Beatrice; Shock Value.
Personnel: Hans Glawischnig: bass; Samir Zarif: tenor and soprano saxophones; Eric Doob: drums.
Record Label: Sunnyside Records