248

Edward Ratliff: Barcelona in 48 Hours

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Multi-instrumentalist Edward Ratliff's self-professed influences include kung fu movies, 18th century Bohemian wind music, jazz, the Golden Age of Hollywood, tangos, boleros, Vietnamese pop songs and free improvisation—a short list. A litany like that might make you tag him as something of a clever crackpot; but a talented crackpot, if you've encountered his previous disc, Wong-Fei Hong Meets Little Strudel. At least that was my take on him, on that specific outing, after listening to a set that attempted to meld wildly disparate musical styles and ended up sounding to me, at the time, like a combination of Frank Zappa, at his whimsical best, mixed up with a relaxed Tom Waits backing band, playing around with kung fu sounds.

A few spins of Ratliff's latest, Barcelona in 48 Hours, puts me in Mark Twain's shoes in his observation concerning his father's acquisition of wisdom between the writer's 14th and 21st birthdays, a marveling of how much the old man had learned in seven years; I'm rather amazed here at how much Edward Ratliff has learned in just a few years. That "crackpot" tag just got jettisoned.

Barcelona in 48 Hours, the soundtrack for the short film by Anja Hitzenberger, has a straight-through cohesion that Wong-Fei Hong Meets Little Strudel lacked. The leader plays cornet, trombone, accordion, celeste and Fender Rhodes, joined by saxophones, bass clarinet, violin, dumbek (percussion), drums and programming.

The disparate styles here are brought together seamlessly, marrying Ratliff's everything-that-blows-his-way influences with a surprisingly focused vision. "Barcelona" gets four versions, each with a different instrumentation, revealing separate facets of the tune. "Estacio De Franca" features Ratliff on accordion dueting with Seido Salifoski on dumbek in an old eastern European meets the sub-continent dance; while "Barcelona (band version)," "Horsey" and "Sintuba" feature a fuller band approach, bringing freewheeling klezmer moods to mind.

Two tunes, "BCN" and "Mies," showcase Chris Kelly on programming, a compelling mix of electronic scratchings that tighten the mood and counterpoint nicely behind Ratliff's organic cornet musings. I'd have liked to have heard more of this.

Barcelona in 48 Hours blends an array of styles and moods with a strong underlying thread that keeps the listening experience exceptionally enthralling. I'm going to have to go back and reassess Wong-Fei Hong Meets Little Strudel now.

Visit Edward Ratliff on the web at www.strudelmedia.com .


Track Listing: Barcelona (band version), BCN, Glass, Barcelona (duo), Horsey, Mies, Barcelona (dreaming) Estacio De Franca, Night Dance, Barcelona (solo), Sintuba

Personnel: Michael Attilias--alto and baritone saxophone; Sam Bardfeld--violin; John Hebert--bass; Edward Ratliff--cornet, trombone, accordion, celeste, Fender Rhodes; Andy Biskin--bass clarinet; Charlie Giordano--accordion; Chris Kelly--programming, guitar, drums; Seido Salifoski--dumbek; Doug Wieselman--guitar

Title: Barcelona in 48 Hours | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Strudelmedia


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Sounding Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 16, 2017
Read "Tipico" CD/LP/Track Review Tipico
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "Waller" CD/LP/Track Review Waller
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Beauty And the Beast" CD/LP/Track Review Beauty And the Beast
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 15, 2017
Read "Fellowship" CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Compassion: The Music Of John Coltrane" CD/LP/Track Review Compassion: The Music Of John Coltrane
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 3, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.