Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

166

Russ Lossing: All Things Arise

Jeff Dayton-Johnson By

Sign in to view read count
Stuart Broomer's ponderous liner notes to Russ Lossing's latest release correctly point out that the track sequencing suggests a "side one" and "side two," as would an old vinyl album ("the LP of tradition," as Broomer says). The first side is given over to a suite of freely improvised music with echoes (probably unwitting) of various moments in 20th Century classical piano. Side two replaces these with more deliberate jazz echoes as Lossing takes on an idiosyncratic set of standards and near-standards.

Lossing has a long list of credits, including most recently the acclaimed trio date As It Grows (Hat Hut, 2004) with Ed Schuller and Paul Motian, but All Things Arise is his first solo piano recording. Judging from the two opening segments of the side one suite, it sounds like he's been holding himself back up until now: in an unflagging avalanche of ideas, uncompromisingly avoiding rote or formulaic elements, "All Things Arise" and "Interdependence" penalize attention deficit on the part of listeners. Having gotten that out of his system, the latter two movements are gentler (but no less demanding of the listener's attention).

Side two, though ostensibly familiar ground for jazz fans, is only marginally less rigorous. Contrast Lossing's approach to standards with Marilyn Crispell's, for example. In her renditions of "Ruby, My Dear" and "When I Fall In Love" on her excellent Live in San Francisco (Music & Arts, 1990), the familiar themes only begin to crystallize out of the musical shards at the end of the performances, rather like an echo played backwards. Lossing instead seems to interleave elements of the compositions throughout his performance of what are essentially his own improvised musical structures.

Lossing's own brief notes on his treatment of the tunes are helpful, if enigmatic. For example, he tells us that he "improvised the harmony" of Ornette Coleman's "Kathelin Grey," thereby removing, for me, the original's sweetness. But that's okay, given that he injects a certain sweetness into Kurt Weill's "Alabama Song," which is "really a blues of sorts," after all.

Like Assif Tsahar and Tatsuya Nakatani's Solitude (Hopscotch, 2006), another recent uncompromising work of free improvisation, All Things Arise ends with a Duke Ellington masterpiece. In fact there are two readings of Ellington's "Azure," providing the most recognizable moments on the record. One can distinguish not only the lovely melody, but also the interspersed anarchic arpeggios that recall Art Tatum's mid-1950s solo recordings.

Paradoxically, even as Lossing's maelstrom of beautifully played notes is energizing, it can also be tiring. But let's be clear: it is never tiresome.

Track Listing: Suite: All Things Arise (All Things Arise, Interdependence, From Within, Causes); Azure 1; Pent-Up House; Kathelin Grey; Alabama Song; Verse; Azure 2.

Personnel: Russ Lossing: piano.

Title: All Things Arise | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Hatology

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read The Songbook Project CD/LP/Track Review The Songbook Project
by Don Phipps
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Solo a Genova CD/LP/Track Review Solo a Genova
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Reaching Out CD/LP/Track Review Reaching Out
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read "Great Lakes" CD/LP/Track Review Great Lakes
by Doug Collette
Published: November 26, 2017
Read "Mata Hati" CD/LP/Track Review Mata Hati
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 10, 2017
Read "Evergreen" CD/LP/Track Review Evergreen
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 5, 2017
Read "Whose Feet are These That are Walking" CD/LP/Track Review Whose Feet are These That are Walking
by Mike Jacobs
Published: October 9, 2017
Read "Planktonic Finales" CD/LP/Track Review Planktonic Finales
by John Sharpe
Published: November 2, 2017
Read "Live 1972" CD/LP/Track Review Live 1972
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 5, 2017