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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sylvie Courvoisier – Mark Feldman Quartet with Scott Colley and Billy Mintz: Birdies For Lulu

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Pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and violinist Mark Feldman are a dynamic duo within the neoteric strategies of modern jazz, coupled with their substantial artistic output. They intersperse classical inferences with shades of folk, avant-garde schemas, and bristling improvisational segments into the big picture. This incarnation of the quartet now features upper-echelon session bassist Scott Colley and venerable drummer Billy Mintz. Essentially, the artists enrich the avant-classical genre by cultivating an undertow framed on swing, bop and concise opuses tinted with the appropriate doses of razzle-dazzle and free-flight mechanisms. Birdies for Lulu is a revelation of unanticipated surprises via the quartet's seamless ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sylvie Courvoisier – Mark Feldman Quartet: Hotel Du Nord

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Hotel Du Nord is shot through with heightened sensitivity. In the wake of To Fly To Steal (Intakt, 2010), the group did a series of European tours and this experience of playing together has resulted in heightened musical understanding. The quartet's musical currency--with the original lineup intact--is as informed by Twentieth Century chamber music as it is by creative improvised music, which means their work is about deft strokes as much as rhetorical flourishes. Pianist Sylvie Courvoisier's “December 2010" highlights this for all of her co-leader's heat. The compositional framework incorporates plenty of space, and all four ...

INTERVIEWS

Mark Feldman: Taking an Eclectic Path

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Violinist Mark Feldman started out in Chicago playing classical music and bar gigs before moving on to the Nashville scene. He emerged in New York's “downtown" circle with the likes of Arcado String Trio, trumpeter Dave Douglas, and composer-saxophonist John Zorn. His expressive, classically tinged technique was also sought for studio work with pop acts and film scores. For the last 10 years, he's been integral to guitarist John Abercrombie's quartet and has recorded several discs as a leader. Feldman works in duo with his wife, pianist Sylvie Courvoisier, and the two also co-lead a quartet. This month [June, 2010] ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Mark Feldman & Sylvie Courvoisier: Oblivia & To Fly to Steal

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Mark Feldman & Sylvie Courvoisier Oblivia Tzadik 2010 Sylvie Courvoisier--Mark Fledman Quartet To Fly to Steal Intakt 2010 The composer Olivier Messiaen might seem an odd vista from which to triangulate upon the spousal and musical partnership of violinist Mark Feldman and pianist Sylvie Courvoisier, but at least from the vantage of their recent releases it's a point suggested by the artists themselves. Courvoisier's piece “Messiaenesque," assumedly titled for the 20th Century French composer, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sylvie Courvoisier – Mark Feldman Quartet: To Fly To Steal

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Between the membership of this quartet (Mark Feldman, Sylvie Courvoisier, Thomas Morgan, and Gerry Hemingway) embodies the twenty-first century improvising musician. All four members have recorded before and in a variety of situations of wide diversity. They bring all of the experience this implies to a program that stakes out its own territory, and from start to end, has set out a potent collective manifesto.

Drummer Gerry Hemingway has worked with Anthony Braxton's quartet in the past and it's clear that the experience has rubbed off. On pianist Courvoisier's “Messiaenesque" he's a master of sound and what it can imply. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sylvie Courvoisier / Mark Feldman Quartet: To Fly To Steal

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Violinist Mark Feldman and his wife, pianist Sylvie Courvoisier eloquently morph restraint, depth and a contemporary classical touch into the progressive-jazz idiom on this 2010 release. Respectively, the musicians are ceaselessly engaged within the new music style of jazz and improvisation, having recorded for several record labels, spanning several years. No doubt, the duo's venerable artistic propensities unravel in resplendent fashion on To Fly To Steal.

The quartet manifests a self-identity during these emotively imbued works, designed with asymmetrical pulses, and brisk unison lines to contrast improvisation-based call and response frameworks. It's an undulating program, kindled by Feldman's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Feldman / Uri Caine / Greg Cohen / Joey Baron: Secrets

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Mark Feldman, Uri Caine, Greg Cohen and Joey Baron have all played integral parts in John Zorn's many explorations of Jewish improvised music. All four have won acclaim for the distinctness and flexibility of their sounds, but here they work in a setting that defines the meaning of traditional.

With a group such as this, it would be impossible to explore any theme, new or old, without bringing flares of insight. Secrets finds them interpreting a variety of niggunim, the often wordless prayer melodies sung by sects of Hasidic Jews, and they mix a jazz sensibility with slight, indefinable touches ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Musilami Trio w/ Mark Feldman: The Treatment

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Guitarist Michael Musillami's trio with bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller previously released two “worldly CDs for Playscape: the debut, Beijing (2002), and the vigorously creative Dachau (2005). With The Treatment, the trio invites master violinist Mark Feldman to join them for a soaring presentation of Musillami's music. As a guitarist, Musillami kisses up against free jazz and beautifully floats down the mainstream, sometimes within a single phrase. Feldman is a violinist of awesome technical and improvisational abilities, bringing a singular mixture of classical and avant to any project with which he is involved. Fonda and Schuller provide both ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Musillami Trio w/ Mark Feldman: The Treatment

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Violinist Mark Feldman may be the link between John Abercrombie's The Third Quartet (ECM, 2007) and Michael Musillami's The Treatment, but there are as many differences as there are similarities between these two guitarists' projects. Abercrombie's group leans more towards a chamber jazz approach that, while not without its occasional edges and unmistakable freedom, is sparer and, at times, ethereal. Musillami's trio--together about as long as Abercrombie's quartet--featuring bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller, swings harder and, when it heads towards the outer limits, does so with greater assertion.

Feldman may be a guest (albeit ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Musillami Trio w/Mark Feldman: The Treatment

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Guitarist Michael Musillami asks the musical question: when is a working trio recording with a guest more like a quartet than an invitation to sit in? The answer, of course, is when a very sympathetic player joins you for a session and tour.

Musillami's trio of Joe Fonda (bass) and George Schuller (drums) has been working together for quite some time, releasing Beijing in 2002 and Dachau in 2005 on Musillami's Playscape Recordings label. The guitar/bass/drums format is the foundation for Musillami's intricate music experimentation and creativity. To that, he adds perhaps the most creative violinist working in ...

INTERVIEWS

Mark Feldman: His Own Music, His Own Sound, His Own Aesthetic

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In his twenty years in New York City, violinist Mark Feldman's played a dizzying number of gigs and sessions with trumpeter Dave Douglas, pianist Uri Caine, saxophonist Tim Berne, drummer Billy Hart, pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, bassist Mark Dresser, and of course, saxophonist John Zorn, with whom Feldman has had a particularly fruitful association.

He was a founding member of the seminal ensembles Arcado String Trio and New & Used, collaborates regularly with his wife, pianist/composer Sylvie Courvoisier (interpreting Zorn material and doing their own compositions) and is a current member of guitarist John Abercrombie's band. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Feldman: What Exit

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Only willing individuals like ECM Records founder and producer Manfred Eicher envision releasing recordings like this. Yet again, the Munich-based label starts where others stop: with a disc of contemporary music by a classically-trained violinist turned jazz avant-gardist. As a matter of fact, the jazz world would be incomplete without projects like What Exit.

Aided by English pianist John Taylor, bassist Anders Jormin and drummer Tom Rainey, Mark Feldman showcases his dual affection for modern classical and jazz genres on this eight-piece set. The selection of Rainey, while debatable, makes sense given the context (he is mostly known for his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Feldman: What Exit

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As an instrumentalist, Mark Feldman is mind-boggling. His violin technique isn't lotsa notes, it's careful phrasing and command of tone, and a huge sound which would have offended some pseudo-classicists of some decades ago. It's “Romantic"!

For a classy Feldman performance, try “Father Demo Square" here, with Anders Jormin setting the pace (the bassist may be the consistently interesting member of this quartet on this date). John Taylor's piano solo emerges nourished by the violin work which precedes it. Pianists have traditionally fed harmonic ideas to front-line soloists, but here they're dominated by Feldman's combination of harmonic intelligence, as well ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Feldman: What Exit

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Violin, viola and cello are among the last instruments from the traditional orchestra whose sound is fully accepted in modern jazz. (You can also add oboe and bassoon to the list.) In the process of adaptation, some players of these instruments have distanced themselves from the orchestra. One modern jazz string exponent, Mat Maneri, plays the viola in such a way as to make one forget its classical orchestral origins, as evinced most recently on his collaborative Happening (Leo, 2006) with François Carrier. This “forgetting" happens in a number of ways including phrasing, but also the physical ...



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