All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

3

Samuel Blaser Consort in Motion: A Mirror to Machaut

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Over the last few years Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser has established himself as a significant presence in the international jazz scene. Recent activity features no less than three consecutive releases; A Mirror to Machaut is the latest in a series of engaging albums, following One From None (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2013), the debut of his co-led Quintet with Canadian bassist Michael Bates, and As The Sea (Hatology, 2013), the second recording of his regular touring Quartet.

Among his current projects, Consort in Motion is the most intriguing. The ensemble's 2011 self-titled debut featured legendary drummer Paul Motian anchoring a quartet with Blaser, pianist Russ Lossing and bassist Thomas Morgan performing adventurous reinterpretations of the early Baroque compositions of Claudio Montiverdi and his 17th century Italian contemporaries. This session, which differs in both approach and personnel, delves further into the past by adapting the late medieval court music of Guillaume de Machaut and Guillaume Dufay, while employing a more modern instrumental palette.

Since Motian's passing, Blaser reconfigured the ensemble, retaining Lossing as the sole original member. Veteran bassist Drew Gress and master drummer Gerry Hemingway helm the rhythm section, while Belgian multi-instrumentalist Joachim Badenhorst joins Blaser on the frontline. In addition to the expanded personnel, the most notable change to the lineup's instrumentation is Lossing's addition of Rhodes and Wurlitzer, whose feverish amplified tonalities imbue the proceedings with an electrifying Milesian undercurrent.

Blaser's interest in Davis' early fusion experiments can also be heard on One From None, but in this antediluvian setting the futuristic sound of Lossing's overdriven analog keyboards provides striking contrast to the date's reharmonized Gregorian plainchants. The aptly titled "Color" is exemplary, conjuring a roiling bitches brew of seething sonorities and volatile rhythms. Conversely, the stately "De fortune me doiy pleindre et loer" is given an authentically austere reading, while the lush opener, "Hymn," unites disparate threads, regaling with a series of probing solos underpinned by a latticework of hemiolas and isorhythms—contrapuntal rhythms common to the pre-Renaissance period.

Blaser himself eschews electronic effects, eliciting lyrical cadences that seamlessly alternate between introspective melancholy and expressionistic ardor, using controlled multiphonics and assorted mutes to add tonal color to his evocative statements. The stalwart rhythm section provides adroit accompaniment, with Hemingway's thunderous interpolations on the anthemic "Dame, se vous m estes lointeinne" a rousing highlight. Badenhorst and Lossing's virtuosic variations impart rich dynamics to the set; the former's sinuous ruminations on "Bohemia" and the latter's dulcet filigrees throughout "Cantus Planus" convey a full spectrum of harmonic invention.

Drawing on his conservatory training and fondness for classical music, Blaser continues to find contemporary parallels in compositions written centuries ago on A Mirror to Machaut. His bold arrangements juxtapose avant-garde concepts with ancient traditions, revealing a sophisticated approach that is both visionary and timeless.

Track Listing: Hymn; Douce dame jolie; Saltarello; Dame, se vous m estes lointeinne; Color; Cantus Planus; De fortune me doiy pleindre et loer; Bohemia; Linea; Introit; Complainte: Tels rit au main qui au soir pleure.

Personnel: Samuel Blaser: trombone; Joachim Badenhorst: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, clarinet; Russ Lossing: piano, Rhodes, Wurlitzer; Drew Gress: double bass; Gerry Hemingway: drums, percussion.

Title: A Mirror to Machaut | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Songlines Recordings

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
General Articles
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Oostum

Oostum

NoBusiness Records
2018

buy
Spring Rain

Spring Rain

Whirlwind Recordings
2015

buy
A Mirror to Machaut

A Mirror to Machaut

Songlines Recordings
2013

buy
As The Sea

As The Sea

Hatology
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read with whom you can be who you are CD/LP/Track Review
with whom you can be who you are
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Inner Core CD/LP/Track Review
Inner Core
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Dirigo Rataplan II CD/LP/Track Review
Dirigo Rataplan II
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 21, 2018
Read The Window CD/LP/Track Review
The Window
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Mønk CD/LP/Track Review
Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2018
Read "More Songs About Error And Shame" CD/LP/Track Review More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read "Plodi" CD/LP/Track Review Plodi
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "Bad Hombre" CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "The Notebooks" CD/LP/Track Review The Notebooks
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 6, 2018
Read "Prisma" CD/LP/Track Review Prisma
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 19, 2018
Read "A Tribute to Geri Allen" CD/LP/Track Review A Tribute to Geri Allen
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 1, 2018