Marc Ribot: Asmodeus - Book of Angels Volume 7 & Losing Stones, Collecting Bones
In the Country
Guitarist Marc Ribot is known for his instrumental mastery and ability to play convincingly a dizzying stylistic array. Often overlooked is his uncanny knack for interpreting the music of others. Two recent and typically disparate CDs exemplify this inherent trait.
A veteran of various Masada projects, Ribot was a natural recruit for composer John Zorn's Masada Book Two recording series. Asmodeus Book of Angels Volume 7 puts Ribot in the center of a power trio with the rumbling bass of Trevor Dunn and the cyclonic drums of G. Calvin Weston for what may be the guitarist's most intense CD.
"Kalmiya opens in harmolodic frenzy, the trio swirling before a recognizable Jewish-tinged melody surfaces. They coalesce around the theme, before quickly shredding it; the pattern repeats, never losing power. The tempo mellows for "Mufgar , as Dunn supports a high harmonic guitar flurry and then cleverly embellishes the line without compromising the groove. The requisite hyper-tight Masada miniatures, "Kezef and "Cabriel , focus the musicians' force, the moments of cohesion providing context for the improvisation. Weston and Dunn provide a muscular groove for Ribot's unrelenting disassembly of the melody on "Sensenya and the drummer intensifies the piece with a pummeling bout.
In stark contrast, the Norwegian piano trio In the Country's second CD Losing Stones, Collecting Bones is unhurried, lyrical music. Pianist Morten Qvenild has a painterly, delicate touch, imbuing the music with narrative, cinematic qualities. Drummer Pal Hausken's doubling on vibes and glockenspiel adds lushness, while bassist Roger Arntzen's controlled dynamics offer support. Though charming, with elements of folk and pop mingling within the jazz forms, the music can be reticent. And that is where Ribot enters. A guest on just two tracks, he injects verve, enlivening the music. His solo on the unfurling, anthemic "Torch-Fishing perfectly captures its mood, building slowly and mirroring the dynamic shifts. His bluesy runs on "Can I Come Home Now add interest and variety. Ribot understands the music and gives it what is needed, as he has done for so many artists.
Tracks and Personnel
Asmodeus - Book of Angels, Volume 7
Tracks: Kalmiya; Yezriel; Kezef; Mufgar; Armaros; Cabriel; Zakun; Raziel; Dagiel; Sensenya.
Personnel: Marc Ribot: guitar; Trevor Dunn: bass; G. Calvin Weston: drums; John Zorn: composer, conductor.
Losing Stones, Collecting Bones
Tracks: My Best Friend Is a Dancer; Hello Walt; Ashes to Ashes; Everyone Live Their Life; Medicine Waltz; Take Me Over; Torch-Fishing; The Bear; Can I Come Home Now; Kung Fu Boys; Don't Walk Another Mile.
Personnel: Morten Qvenild: grand piano, celesta, harmonium, Hammond organ, vocals; Roger Arntzen: bass, vocals, Pål Hausken: drums, percussion, vibraphone, glockenspiel, vocals; Marc Ribot: guitar (7, 9); Stefan Sundström: vocals (4).