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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anthony Burr / Oscar Noriega / Chris Speed: The Clarinets

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The Clarinets is both the name of the all-clarinet improvisational trio of Chris Speed, Oscar Noriega and Anthony Burr, and the title of their new CD, the first release on Speed's new Skirl Records imprint. Here Speed (on clarinet), Noriega (on bass clarinet and clarinet) and Burr (on bass clarinet) explore the possibilities of their instruments in an improvised setting. Jazz purists won't find much to enjoy here: these eight pieces (gloriously recorded in the expansive former-church interior of the NACL Theater in Highland Lake, New York in 2005) display an almost-complete absence of tempo, jazz licks or harmonic development.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Oscar Noriega: Luciano's Dream

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The full name of this ensemble is Oscar Noriega’s Play Party, and some of the music on Luciano’s Dream is indeed playful, with an edgy, avant-garde sensibility. But the album’s title track is certainly no laughing matter, as it is dedicated to a person who would have become Noriega’s brother-in-law had he not committed suicide at the age of 28. Together with trumpeter Cuong Vu, guitarist Brad Shepik, and drummer Tom Rainey, Noriega (on alto sax and bass clarinet) formulates a complex emotional response to the tragedy through music. The track “Luciano’s Dream" begins with a haunting bass clarinet introduction ...



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