Steve Swallow/Ohad Talmor Sextet: L'Histoire du Clochard (The Bum's Tale) (2004)
Using Igor Stravinsky's "Soldier's Tale" as its model, L'Histoire du Clochard (The Bum's Tale) combines the depth of Ohad Talmor's symphonic orchestration with the lyricism of Steve Swallow's writing. Composed by Swallow and arranged by Talmor, the seven pieces tell a story. Their innovative sextet takes its audience on a journey through natural landscapes. Dark, ancient forests, looming mountains, and relaxed marketplaces come and go as the ensemble moves seamlessly through a panorama of sounds. The result is a swinging affair with classical overtones: chamber jazz.
While Swallow's electric bass appears to lead the session, everyone participates equally in this cohesive project. The timbres of trumpet, violin, clarinet, trombone and tenor saxophone mix casually. The tale they're interpreting contains little dramatic spice. The fragrance draws, instead, from sweeping meadows and lush evergreens. The bum in question leads a relaxed life.
With Talmor's orchestration on the intro to "Ladies in Mercedes," we find trombone leading, with the other voices combining to form a distinct faux accordion timbre. A syncopated rhythm sashays easily, as each sextet member portrays impressions of industrious city life. Talmor's tenor saxophone solo recalls the fluid activity of a society in action, while the mix creates a cause for celebration. Elsewhere, the action remains slower and less hurried as The Bum's Tale reveals a life of ease and a love of good music.
Track Listing: Making Ends Meet; Sweeping Up; Chelsea Bells; Some Echoes; Ladies in Mercedes; Hullo Bolinas; I'm Your Pal.
Personnel: Steve Swallow: bass; Ohad Talmor: tenor saxophone; Russ Johnson: trumpet; Meg Okura: violin; Greg Tardy: clarinet; Jacob Garchik: trombone.