Pianist/composer Frank Carlberg teams up with the Netherlands-based Clazz Ensemble for some truly off-kilter and wryly humorous musical mayhem on Federico on Broadway. Like Willem Breuker and Carla Bley, Carlberg's music has roots in the avant- garde but has gravitated slowly towards the tonal. Like Bley and Breuker, Carlberg has a humorous streak, and he's fond of incorporating odd bits of non-jazz influences into his long-form compositions. To that end, Federico on Broadway finds Carlberg proudly wearing his musical obsessions on his sleeve. A cursory listen evokes images of tightrope walkers, freakshows, and carnival barkers. As the recording's title suggests, ...read more
Pianist/composer Frank Carlberg continues to perfect his distinctive blend of poetry and left-of-center jazz. Carlberg does it together with a stellar cast of close collaborators; most important of them is vocalist Christine Correra, with whom he has been collaborating for two decades. Both have performed poetry by Wallace Stevens on Variations on a Summer Day (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2000); Jack Kerouac, Robert Creeley, and others on In the Land of Art State of the Union (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2006); and exclusively on Creeley with The American Dream (Red Piano, 2008). On the masterful Uncivilized Ruminations, ...read more
Pianist Frank Carlberg's trio is named after the Tivoli amusement park he remembers from his youth in Helsinki, not the famous Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark, the second oldest amusement park in the world and a huge tourist attraction.
Carlberg's Tivoli is more of the roving carnivals or circus that might be associated with less family-friendly characters, tattooed carneys (before tattoos were cool) and alcoholic acrobats. But, then the show must go on, cotton candy pulled and ring tossed rings...tossed.
From his Finnish youth, Carlberg was educated at the Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory. ...read more
The poetry of Robert Creeley (1926-2005) has been arranged a few times in jazz settings and acknowledges the music's strong influence on his work. The late saxophonist Steve Lacy arranged the introspective and laconic verses of Creeley into an almost operatic setting in Futurities (Hat Hut, 1985) and later on The Beat Suite (Universal, 2003). In a more modest and down to earth vein, electric bassist Steve Swallow, who was also fascinated by the crystalline poetry of Creeley, first arranged his poems for vocalist Sheila Jordan on Home (ECM, 1980). But his collaborative projects with Creeley himself on Have We ...read more
The packaging for Fallingwater includes a quote from Wassily Kandinsky. Two tracks into the album, the music gives way to images of intricate linear patterns and geometric designs--and one gets the impression that the Finnish duo's music could have inspired the painter's own works. A constant, careful examination of sound and texture persists through each of the eleven tracks. As a duo, percussionist Klaus Suonsaari and pianist Frank Carlberg maintain a resolute focus which avoids the muddle that larger groups can sometimes find themselves in. The music flourishes with the dynamism the pair brings to the relationship. ...read more
The beat poets and writers of the '50s idolized the bop players of their day. Jazz served as a template for their compositional methods, performing styles and as soundtrack to their writings. This adulation may not have gone both ways, though, as a quote attributed to Miles Davis indicates: The Beat Generation ain't nothin' but just more synthetic white shit!" It's been a half century since beat and bop were the hip countercultures, and pianist Frank Carlberg has used that to his advantage to freshly interpret them on In the Land of Art.In a clever turnabout, Carlberg has ...read more
Adapting the poetry of Wallace Stevens to music is an almost natural task for Frank Carlberg. The ex-lawyer turned insurance executive (Stevens not Carlberg) wrote from pure imagination. His early associations had been with the New York intelligentsia, including William Carlos Williams and Marcel Duchamp. Carlberg, a Finnish born pianist and composer has been a frequent collaborator with Indian vocalist Christine Correa. Their work includes the duo Ugly Beauty (1994) and The Crazy Woman (1996).
This Stevens project, significant for its blending of poetry and music, reminds one of Charles Mingus’ jazz workshop experiments. Carlberg enlisted the current who’s-who of ...read more