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...

25

Lisa Mezzacappa: avantNOIR

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Track review of "Babel"

The underlying story for this album by West Coast bassist, composer and improviser, Lisa Mezzacappa emanates from her fascination with Paul Auster's New York Trilogy, Dashiell Hammett's crime stories and similar literary works. Hence, the program casts a visual of nighttime in an intimidating metropolis. Toss in several progressive jazz motifs that parallel an action-packed detective thriller or several instances of zany comedic inferences and you have an album that lives by a platform of diversity amid a host of intriguing concepts. With samples and electronics, appended to a traditional small ensemble jazz lineup, the music traverses through many routes or dark passageways, contrasted by a fun-factor often built on alternating motifs, kooky effects, hardcore improv and an oscillating rhythmic paradigm.

It's a very compelling endeavor that parlays a classic black & white noir premise. Here, Mezzacappa's seriously complex and perpetually moving compositions tender cartoon-ish movements, pathos and straightforward jazz-based frameworks along with bizarre electronics mechanisms supplied by Tim Perkis. The final track "Peter Stillman in Riverside Park, C 1986 -Babel," is a demanding composition that starts with a faded voiceover, Aaron Bennett's soft tenor sax phrasings and John Finkbeiner's volume control techniques. Ultimately, the musicians are building a sense of anticipation for what looms ahead, tinted by William Winant's dainty vibes work. But the bassist helps push the beat with her succinct lines as the band kicks matters into a higher gear via bouncy unison choruses and Perkis' gurgling synth treatments, leading to false endings, grooving rock pulses and Bennett's muscular soloing. They rev it up towards the coda as the whirlwind ride comes to an end, like the finale of a movielike murder mystery. Indeed, it's a visionary and shrewd game-plan that succeeds on all levels.

Track Listing: Fillmore Street; The Ballad of Big Flora; Army Street; Medley on the Big Knockover (Green St. / At Larrouy’s Bar / Montgomery St.); A Bird in the Hand; Quinn’s Serenade ; Ghosts (Black and White, then Blue); Babel.

Personnel: Aaron Bennett: saxophones; John Finkbeiner: electric guitar; Jordan Glenn: drums; Lisa Mezzacappa: acoustic bass; William Winant: vibraphone, percussion, Foley; Tim Perkis: electronics.

Title: avantNOIR | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
avantNOIR

avantNOIR

Clean Feed Records
2017

buy
X Marks The Question

X Marks The Question

Queen Bee Records
2014

buy
Cosmic Rift

Cosmic Rift

Leo Records
2011

buy
 

Earworms

Rhythm Zone
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Uplift The People CD/LP/Track Review
Uplift The People
by John Sharpe
Published: August 21, 2018
Read A New Shade Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review
A New Shade Of Blue
by Chris May
Published: August 21, 2018
Read Rabbits on the Run CD/LP/Track Review
Rabbits on the Run
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 21, 2018
Read Imaginary Numbers CD/LP/Track Review
Imaginary Numbers
by John Sharpe
Published: August 21, 2018
Read Point Blank CD/LP/Track Review
Point Blank
by Chris May
Published: August 20, 2018
Read Tell Me The Truth CD/LP/Track Review
Tell Me The Truth
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 20, 2018
Read "Spell" CD/LP/Track Review Spell
by Jim Worsley
Published: April 15, 2018
Read "Say It" CD/LP/Track Review Say It
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: April 27, 2018
Read "Black Swan" CD/LP/Track Review Black Swan
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "Harmony of Difference" CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "No Excuses" CD/LP/Track Review No Excuses
by Thomas Earl
Published: January 9, 2018
Read "Obsidian" CD/LP/Track Review Obsidian
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 9, 2018