222

Sylvie Courvoisier/Mark Feldman/Erik Friedlander: Abaton

By

Sign in to view read count
Sylvie Courvoisier/Mark Feldman/Erik Friedlander: Abaton

Abaton is a remarkable two-disc recording that is at once startling and mysteriously beautiful, gently pushing you into strange, good places. The music defies easy classification, which only adds to its appeal. The piano trio consists of Swiss composer and pianist Sylvie Courvoisier, jazz violinist Mark Feldman, and cellist Erik Friedlander. The first disc consists of four of Courvoisier’s written compositions, and there are 19 short improvisations on disc two.

It’s impossible not to be deeply drawn into this music or to listen to it dispassionately. Every note – be it a short pizzicato pluck of the strings, a long bowed note on the cello or a series of pounding piano chords – has an intense power. Because of the sparseness of the music, each sound takes on an added importance and beauty. Huge swings in dynamics and timing add to the tension of the music: passages of uplifting harmony are interspersed with attention-grabbing dissonance. The trio never seems out of control nor leads the listener too far in one direction, or into too familiar territory.

The piano, cello and violin are, of course, closely associated with classical trios. That begs the question: Is this jazz? In a recent interview Ms. Courvoisier is quoted as saying “I don’t care for labels... When you play improvised music, instantaneous composing is going on... every improviser is a composer.”

Ms. Courvoisier was born in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1968. She deeply admires Thelonious Monk’s music and studied Arnold Schoenberg’s work, to name just two musical icons who have influenced her compositions. Violinist Mark Feldman is no stranger to jazz. He has appeared on more than 100 jazz and improvised albums, last year teaming up with John Abercrombie on the wonderful album Cat ’n’ Mouse (ECM). Cellist Erik Friedlander has played and recorded with many jazz greats, including Fred Hersch and Marty Ehrlich.

Included in the nineteen short improvisations are three variations simply called Icaria 1, Icaria 2 and Icaria 3. Listening to all three, one after another, aptly reveals the subtle power of the trio’s expressionistic talents. A recurring theme runs through all three pieces – but in one version the violin becomes more prominent, in another the piano takes command, and in the third and the minimalist cello holds everything together. This is an immense achievement deserving recognition from both classical and jazz worlds. So much for labels.


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

More Articles

Read Birdhoused CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review Vol. 1
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Meeting My Shadow CD/LP/Track Review Meeting My Shadow
by James Nadal
Published: July 22, 2017
Read No Secrets No Lies CD/LP/Track Review No Secrets No Lies
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 22, 2017
Read 50 CD/LP/Track Review 50
by Doug Collette
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Day After Day CD/LP/Track Review Day After Day
by John Eyles
Published: July 21, 2017
Read "Greatest Hits" CD/LP/Track Review Greatest Hits
by Doug Collette
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Thick As Thieves" CD/LP/Track Review Thick As Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "Flux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 12, 2016
Read "Lost at Last" CD/LP/Track Review Lost at Last
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Comes Love - A Tribute To Ella Fitzgerald And Joe Pass" CD/LP/Track Review Comes Love - A Tribute To Ella Fitzgerald And Joe Pass
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 6, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!