Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved reader experience across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

188

Ilgenfritz/Khoury/Michalowski/Weaver: Babardah

By

Sign in to view read count
Free improvisation is a tool, just as paint or the written word, in the process of making art. Art critic Clement Greenberg might roll over in his grave that I quote him on such generic art-making terms, but his oft-repeated line on the modernist process carries some weight here: "Modernism... [is] the use of the characteristic methods of the discipline itself, not in order to subvert it, but to entrench it more firmly in its area of competence." Free improvisation (or free jazz) might be seen, then, as a tool to understand better the medium of improvisation or the idiom of jazz, a necessary engagement that will strengthen and improve both the art and the artist. All as each new group engages free improvisation, the process and the medium are—or should be—called to the stand once again.

In the case of Babardah , a Michigan-based quartet consisting of reedman Piotr Michalowski, trombonist Sarah Weaver, violinist Mike Khoury and bassist James Ilgenfritz, this is a personal process. It isn't an assault on traditional sonorities that any regular listener of New Phonic Art, early Instant Composers Pool or Company recordings wouldn't be familiar with. The improvisations themselves, while not taking any great chances, are filled with contrast and depth: low blasts from baritone colliding with lithe violin scrabbles, or piercing string harmonics meet amplified breathing and guttural effects from Weaver's trombone. The musicians are all rather adept at creating a blurred stew of sounds, often from indeterminate sources and though moments of heady intensity do arise, the improvisations generally tend to the spare and moody—harmonics blend, chirps and burbles blur. Yet there is a hint of a different side to Babardah: long sonorous violin and trombone lines herald romanticism in "Rostador," giving way to a bass solo that would make Beb Guerin proud.

Whether or not Babardah 's contribution to improvisation is a valuable new direction is irrelevant. We only have a window onto these improvisations; future projects may help the open ear grasp the scope of their art, but suffice it to say that their personal engagement is worthy of the term "free music."

Track Listing: 1. Peliczple; 2. Nyicnyac; 3. Rathi; 4. Krvilak; 5. Tauton; 6. Rostador; 7. Raparossi; 8. Giuggio; 9. Galumfuja;

Personnel: Piotr Michalowski; James Ilgenfritz; Mike Khoury; Sarah Weaver.

Title: Babardah | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: ABZU

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Contra la indecision CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Vessel in Orbit CD/LP/Track Review Vessel in Orbit
by Don Phipps
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Pulse/Quartet CD/LP/Track Review Pulse/Quartet
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: January 19, 2018
Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Chain" CD/LP/Track Review Chain
by John Sharpe
Published: December 1, 2017
Read "Loneliness Road" CD/LP/Track Review Loneliness Road
by Doug Collette
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "Rags And Roots" CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Let's Groove: The Music of Earth Wind & Fire" CD/LP/Track Review Let's Groove: The Music of Earth Wind & Fire
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "Generations" CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Variety of Rhythm" CD/LP/Track Review Variety of Rhythm
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 10, 2018