136

Edmund Welles: Agrippa's 3 Books

Andrey Henkin By

Sign in to view read count
Edmund Welles: Agrippa's 3 Books After having been rescued from the back rows of the orchestra by '60s jazz, the bass clarinet has found many homes. Today the instrument is no longer rare, but it has become the province almost solely of the less composed spheres of the genre. That's a shame, really, because the bass clarinet can be one of the most expressive instruments around, pleasing yet subversive with a remarkable tonal range in the right hands. Edmund Welles, a San Francisco-based bass clarinet quartet, has created a symphonic repertoire that mixes the best elements of chamber music, jazz, heavy metal, and "religious music.

The group, led by composer Cornelius Boots, must have quite a following, evidenced by the remarkable turnout at a late August performance at The Stone. There the group played material from Agrippa's 3 Books, as well as some older original material and covers. The album is a four-part suite (not including pre- and postlude) inspired by the 16th Century philosophical treatises of the German intellectual. The music is simply remarkable. Boots has the ability to write compelling melodies and mix them with fascinating counterpoints, all while fully utilizing every black laquered inch of the instrument. Stylistically, the pieces owe more to the realm of Black Sabbath than Eric Dolphy, but they're still firmly based in the new music tradition.

The rest of the album is filled out by covers—Sabbath, Sepultura, Spinal Tap—which somewhat diffuse the seriousness of what preceded them. On album, they come at the end as a respite. In performance, they came first, acting as an initiation before the more difficult works. And difficult they are. Never before has the instrument been written for so well and most listeners might not be prepared for so much of this sound. And with a remarkable recording, no detail is missed. A stunning document.


Track Listing: Prelude: The Conspiracy Manifests; I. Cause & Effect; II. The Black Lodge; III. Corso v. Torchia; IIII. Asmodeus: The Destroyer, King of the Demons; Postlude: Aphel, die schwarze Schlange; Into the Void; Roots Bloody Roots; Big Bottom.

Personnel: Aaron Novik, Scott Hill, Sheldon Brown, Cornelius Boots: bass clarinets.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Piano Song" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 2, 2017
Read "Lello's Italian Job, Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Lello's Italian Job, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: September 9, 2016
Read "And Now the Queen - A Tribute to Carla Bley" CD/LP/Track Review And Now the Queen - A Tribute to Carla Bley
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works" CD/LP/Track Review Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Troy Collins
Published: October 20, 2016
Read "Better Left Unsung" CD/LP/Track Review Better Left Unsung
by Doug Collette
Published: December 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!