All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

144

Sylvie Courvoisier: Abaton

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count
It's a testament to pianist Sylvie Courvoisier's fine trio that the second half of her new two-disc set is as strong as the first. Violinist Mark Feldman, cellist Erik Friedlander and she have certainly logged plenty of hours together in different settings. The pianist's ear for composing for them shows through on the first disc and their shared sense of improvising shines on the second. Her scoring hand is so transparent and the trio so communicative, in fact, that the discs are surprisingly similar.

The line between composition and improvisation, however, might not be so hard for the Abaton trio. In an onstage discussion with Jazziz editor Larry Blumenfeld after the trio's performance at Merkin Hall last month, Courvoisier said that the compositions are about 20 percent improvisation and that the improvisations were recorded immediately after the scored pieces and in some sense were guided by them. They are, in other words, opposite sides of the same coin.

Courvoisier is a classically trained pianist whose improvisational work retains much of that early influence. Although she moves primarily in the improv world now, she relies on the sparse, elegiac language of 20th century classical music much more than jazz phrasings and structures. And while she is best known for her preparations of her instrument, here she stays almost exclusively on the keyboard and uses the trio with a beautiful openness. At any point she might put the strings in tandem or let an instrument fly alone, then drop brief unison statements or single notes atop. Disc one contains three nice trio pieces and a fascinatingly linear string duo in which quick melodies are delivered in alternating and overlapping arco and pizzicato fragments. It's a lovely piece.

Courvoisier's compositions are perhaps distinctly 21st century in the way they fit into a continuum of composed chamber work. They reflect without being ironic, refer without being referential. All in all, a refreshingly post-postmodern approach.


Track Listing: CD 1: Ianicum, Orodruin, Poco a Poco, Abaton. CD 2: Nineteen improvisations.

Personnel: Sylvie Courvoisier, piano Mark Feldman, violin Erik Friedlande, cello

Title: Abaton | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: ECM Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
D'Agala

D'Agala

Intakt Records
2018

buy
Birdies For Lulu

Birdies For Lulu

Intakt Records
2014

buy
 

To Fly to Steal

Intakt Records
2011

buy
To Fly To Steal

To Fly To Steal

Intakt Records
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Shades CD/LP/Track Review
Shades
by Doug Collette
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Putumayo Presents: Ska Around the World CD/LP/Track Review
Putumayo Presents: Ska Around the World
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Pattern Recognition CD/LP/Track Review
Pattern Recognition
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Just This CD/LP/Track Review
Just This
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Live at Sowieso CD/LP/Track Review
Live at Sowieso
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 20, 2018
Read Displaced Diaspora CD/LP/Track Review
Displaced Diaspora
by Chris May
Published: October 19, 2018
Read "Demons 1" CD/LP/Track Review Demons 1
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "Wishing On The Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Wishing On The Moon
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 13, 2018
Read "Expresso" CD/LP/Track Review Expresso
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 11, 2018
Read "Involution" CD/LP/Track Review Involution
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 6, 2018
Read "I Am A Man" CD/LP/Track Review I Am A Man
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 27, 2017
Read "Live At Cafe Amores" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Cafe Amores
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2018