Accurate Records: Growing Out of Boston
Of the five movie sections, the extended suites from Metropolis and First Night are the most successful. The music to Metropolis effectively translates an expressionist industrial landscape into sound. "The Clock," for instance, conveys the mechanic slavery of time. However, there's also room for otherworldly beauty on the ambient "Garden of Earthly Delights."
First Night uses layers of hectic percussion patterns, especially on "Burundi" and "False Alarm." Here, saxophonist Neil Leonard's wailing horn gives an extra dimension to the feeling of chaos.
While the influence of minimalists Terry Riley, Philip Glass and Steve Reich is clear, Alloy Orchestra still have their very own take on making film music that can be enjoyed with or without the pictures.
The Crazy Woman
Poetry comes to life on pianist Frank Carlberg's album The Crazy Woman. Poems by the likes of Jack Kerouac, Wallace Stevens, Gwendolyn Brooks and Anselm Hallo are set to music by Carlberg and sung by Christine Correa, helped out by the trio of saxophonist Chris Cheek, bassist Ben Street and drummer Kenny Wollesen.
The result of Carlberg's musical interpretation of poetry is both swinging and unconventional, and like Norma Winstone, Correa is perfect at sculpting the words with modernistic precision, avoiding the trap of pure recitation.
While the title track is the most impressive in terms of Correa's command of words, it's on the more minimalistic interpretations that she really shines. As for instance in her reading of the haiku-like poem by Rabindranath Tagore called "Fireflies": "My fancies are fireflies / Specks of living light / twinkling in the dark." Because of the limited amount words, Correa is able to twist, turn and repeat the phrases, playing with pause and breath.
Far from a conventional album of jazz and poetry, The Crazy Woman shows the potential of putting music together with words. Here, the textures of instruments, voice and words melt together in a coherent and forceful artistic expression.
Purple Cha Cha Heels
Purple Cha Cha Heels is the kind of record that might come with a warning: "This record can make you smile and dance all night." The Latin rhythms of this fabulous five-piece group are both life-affirming and propulsive.
Tunes like "Let it Slide" and "Kick Your Culo" really hit the feet, driven by percussionist Ana Norgaard's bouncing congas and percussion, and Tim Mayer's flute and saxophone dance around like a lovesick snake charmer.
On "Merengana," the group welcomes Gonzalo Grau on piano, guira and tambora and he adds extra sophistication to an already swinging sound. But frankly, there's no need for extra ingredients in the spicy dish that is Purple Cha Cha Heels. In particular, the two trombones, played by Russell Jewell and Jim Messbauer, give the tunes a fat groove.
Most of the album is about having fun and moving the body to a beat, but there's also time for contemplation in the surprisingly elegiac "Those Who Trespass Against Us." Here, the group shows that it has other colors on its palette than orange, yellow, red and green. There's also black and blue. However, there's no doubt which mood prevails: Purple Cha Cha Heels is a wonderful Latin explosion of rhythms and an unconditional homage to life.
Pandelis Karayorgis / Eric Pakula
It's says of something of the stylistic diversity of Accurate that there's room for both the warm Latin rhythms of Brass Roots and the cool jazz compositions of pianist Brass Roots. On lines, alto saxophonist Eric Pakula and pianist Pandelis Karayorgis take up the torch of Tristano and show that it's unjust to accuse the composer of being cold, overly intellectual and thin of blood.
Tristano's tune "Two Not One" is played with virtuosity in a fast-paced tempo that leaves the lines shining like they were carved out of marble, but there's also room for a sense of swing and raw emotionalism. Thus, Tristano's music never becomes too polished, the academic exercise is avoided and instead the forms explored seem fresh and unpretentious, imbued with artistic originality while keeping the stamp of the master.