243

Anat Fort: A Long Story

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Anat Fort: A Long Story From the first notes of "Just Now," an attentive listener will recognize that A Long Story is going to be something special. The seemingly simple, Middle-Eastern tinged melody is treated with odd phrase lengths, keeping the listener decidedly off-balance, despite the direct harmonic progressions. Pianist Anat Fort's improvisations on the tune float around the barely felt pulse creating an atmosphere of calm, serene beauty, which nevertheless is quite taut beneath the surface.

The rest of the album seems to simply unfold, gradually exposing this remarkable musician's compositional and improvisational skills. The pieces each tell a story and each has a combination of rigorous logic and playfulness mixed with much room for spontaneous invention.

This record, which feels like a longer story made up of shorter ones, is really a retelling of Fort's personal story, hence its title. As with most "overnight sensations" and "good luck," Fort's appearance on ECM has been prepared by years of playing and studying in both the jazz and classical disciplines, coupled with lots of determination.

Fort had wanted to play with Paul Motian since hearing him on a Bill Evans record years ago. After moving to New York from Israel and immersing herself in the downtown scene, Fort met and played with bassist Ed Schuller and clarinetist Perry Robinson, both of whom have long histories with Motian. This recording is the result of Fort asking Motian to record with her; Schuller and Robinson, Schuller talking Motian into doing it in 2004; and Motian so loving the music at the session that he recommended it to ECM. Manfred Eicher then helped to sequence and mix the record and three years later having it released.

That which so intrigued Motian, including the aforementioned "Just Now," for which he asked to see the score (which is quite out of character), is at once both perfectly clear and deeply hidden. The music seems completely obvious at first hearing, unfolding with extremely logical ease. As each track individually, and the album as a whole, progresses, however, intricacies begin to pile up, mostly without announcing themselves, indicating a very high degree of craft.

At the same time, Fort's music possesses much suppleness and spontaneity that moves it away from "good composition" and into "jazz as art," coupled with a playing style that combines gossamer beauty with a steely toughness. Her music also takes wonderful advantage of the musical personalities of Robinson and Schuller, both of whom are playful and light on their feet, and who clearly enjoy playing this music.

As for Motian, he is actually quite subdued most of the time, adding percussive color, along with the subtlest of pulses when needed, with the one exception of "Rehaired," where he plays out.

A Long Story is one of a handful of albums that can be listened to again and again while revealing different aspects of itself each time. Highly recommended—get ready to be seduced by the artistry of Anat Fort.

Track Listing: Just Now, Var. I; Morning: Good; Lullaby; Chapter-Two; Just Now, Var. II; Not a Dream?; Rehaired; As Two/Something 'bout Camels; Not the Perfect Storm; Chapter-One; Just Now, Var. III.

Personnel: Anat Fort: piano; Perry Robinson: clarinet, ocarina; Ed Schuller: bass; Paul Motian: drums.

Title: A Long Story | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "The Reasons Don't Change" CD/LP/Track Review The Reasons Don't Change
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "Impulsive Illuminations" CD/LP/Track Review Impulsive Illuminations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Mannequins" CD/LP/Track Review Mannequins
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 9, 2017
Read "On Ceremony" CD/LP/Track Review On Ceremony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 17, 2016
Read "Innate" CD/LP/Track Review Innate
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Salão Brazil" CD/LP/Track Review Salão Brazil
by John Sharpe
Published: March 30, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.