What is to become of the Great American Songbook, that cultural document that served as scripture to the jazz community for the better part of the Twentieth Century? Today, what we think of as jazz has flown so far and wide that it's definition encompasses everything from Craig Taborn's Chants to Robert Glasper's Black Radio and Black Radio 2. While rightly called jazz, these examples are the keepers of no flame, rather they are the new flame burning the way for the future of the music, sometimes at the expense of the applicable past, which is the Songbook.read more
Released in 1997, the Uri Caine Ensemble's Wagner e Venezia somehow evaded proper consideration within the electrons of All About Jazz. No more. Caine and his unique brand of interpretation has long been well-regarded at the magazine. Wagner e Venezia is one of the pinnacles among pinnacles from the pianist/composer's early output. Wagner e Venezia is Caine's third release on the Winter & Winter label and the first where he used classical music as his creative jumping-off point. The following years saw the release of his excellent Mahler series, Gustav Mahler / Uri Caine: Urlicht / Primal Light (W&W, 1997), ...read more
Pianist Uri Caine holds a unique distinction, known the world over as a stellar jazz pianist, but a critics' darling for his genre-blind reworkings of classical music. His takes on the work of Gustav Mahler, Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Richard Wagner have become modern classics which straddle several musical worlds, but Caine's is no one-trick pony. When he isn't busy turning classical music history on its head, his restless artistic curiosity has taken him to a variety of other realms. The pianist tipped his hat to Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock, with album-length salutes to each, took ...read more
Siren is the first studio recording to feature pianist Uri Caine leading a traditional acoustic trio since 1998's Blue Wail (Winter & Winter). Since then, most of Caine's albums have alternated between radical reinterpretations of the work of revered classical composers like Beethoven, Mozart and Schummann, and the heavily amplified funk excursions of his Bedrock trio with bassist Tim Lefebvre and drummer Zach Danziger. Stripped down to their basic foundations however, most of Caine's efforts typically revolve around the classic piano trio format. Bassist Drew Gress and drummer Ben Perowsky have been Caine's primary accomplices in this configuration, last documented ...read more
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 ...read more
Addressing the output of classical composers seems eventually to have become the dominant thrust of keyboardist Uri Caine's work. Schumann, Wagner, Bach, Beethoven and Mahler have fallen to sometimes radical re-posturing of their grand scores. Caine messes with the old assumed interpretations, deliberately distorting the usual expectations of performance by inserting elements of jazz, rock, funk, soul, blues, hip hop and electronica, always utilizing a cast of players from a broad range of backgrounds. Now, it's a Verdi mash-up. Othello is similarly dissected, analyzed, reshuffled and responded to, making an opera that could possibly possess appeal among ...read more
Uri Caine, in his own unique way, surveyed music from the Classical era with The Classical Variations (Winter & Winter, 2008) and The Plays Mozart (Winter & Winter, 2007). Caine moves both forward to Late Romantic Opera and back, picking up from Wagner in Venezia (Winter & Winter, 1997), with The Othello Syndrome. The disc title is a play on two things: the Giuseppe Verdi Opera Othello (1887) and the common name for delusional jealousy, both after the Shakespeare protagonist. The musical result here is a wild ride in a fast machine.
All of these musical and literary allusions would ...read more