Patrick Zimmerli: Phoenix (2005)
The notes accompanying this sixth release from Patrick Zimmerli, a New York-based composer/saxophonist, give no hint of when he may have fallen to earth from parts unknown, bringing with him an unclassifiable mix of jazz, strings, and electronics.
The set opens with the dreamlike landscape of "M, which is dramatically revisited later mid-set with Kevin Hays' piano carrying the theme, only to re-emerge in more subdued fashion for the finale. Subsequently Hays turns positively frolicksome in the company of Zimmerli's sax and Satoshi Takeishi's percussion on "Only Surround.
Overall the swirls and clouds of sound that emerge in the set are varied expressions of Zimmerli's adventurousness. Styles are mixed, unrestricted by the boundaries of traditional categories like jazz or classical. Most of the pieces are Zimmerli compositions dominated by the interplay between electronic and acoustic instruments.
Yet the bossa nova rhythms of Jobim's "How Insensitive, floating gently on violins, sax, and piano, also fit quite nicely here. "Away From You is a jaunty, sax-led acoustic trip, not unlike Grofe's "Grand Canyon Suite as it might have evolved had it been played by violins spiked by just a tad of acid. Each of these pieces creates its own mood. The common thread throughout is a real sense of commitment in to exploring fresh possibilities.
Track Listing: M; Away From Home; Wunderlichen Stadt; How Insensitive; Clouds And Machines; The Bird Dances; Breath; M; Feel; Gnosis Crisis; Only Surround; Beginning; Summer Passes; M.
Personnel: Patrick Zimmerli: soprano saxophone; Scott Yoo: violin 1; Yoon Kwon: violin 2; Maurycy Banaszek: viola; Inbal Segev: violincello; Kevin Hays: piano; Stomu Takeishi: fretless electric bass; Satoshi Takeishi: percussion, drum programming, electronics.