277

Gerald Cleaver / Uncle June: Be It As I See It

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Gerald Cleaver / Uncle June: Be It As I See It Drummer Gerald Cleaver has a CV which takes in names like Mario Pavone, Joe Morris, Charles Gayle and Roscoe Mitchell. Of these names it's the last which inspires not only Cleavers's music, but also his appetite for working in new musical forms, and striving for new forms of musical expression. It's hardly surprising, then, that Be It As I See It, his fourth as a leader in his own right—and in the company of his Uncle June ensemble, featuring reed man Tony Malaby and bassist Drew Gress—is as reflective of the times we live in as it is with a broader historical continuum.

In tackling the theme of the Great Migration of the last century in musical form, Cleaver sets himself no mean task, and it's to his credit that he avoids straightforward narrative in doing so. Instead, the music comes in collage form, and with a little imagination it's easy to see how it works. Thus, the opening almost three-minute blast that is "To Love" comes on like an abstract statement of intent, even while, through its measured ferocity, it encapsulates the aural shock that's an integral part of moving from a rural to an urban environment.

But, as Cleaver makes clear, narrative has little or no part here, so while the intimation of the free in "Alluvia" carries with it implications outside the purely musical sphere, it also unexpectedly conjures up the notion of freedom as group understanding, exemplified by the likes of Henry Cow.

With its juxtapositions, "Gremmy" highlights how deep this musical understanding is between the players. Pianist Craig Taborn melds the whole thing together, but as with everything else in this program it seems somehow improper to single out any contribution, given that this is such a profoundly "group" music.

As the final track, "From A Life Of The Same Name" has the effect of closing things out both literally and metaphorically; clarifying the degree to which Cleaver and his cohorts have pulled off the considerable feat of reconciling a past with a present, without wallowing in tiresome, neo-conservative staples. The result is a program of highly individual music, beautifully realized.

Track Listing: To Love; Charles Street Sunrise; Fence & Post (For Mom & Dad)--Alluvia; The Lights; Lee / Mae; Statues / UmbRa; Ruby Ritchie / Well; He Said--Gremmy; Charles Street Quotidian; 22 Minutes (The Wedding Song); From A Life Of The Same Name.

Personnel: Gerald Cleaver: drums, percussion, voice); Andrew Bishop: flute, soprano saxophone, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone; Tony Malaby: soprano saxophone, tenor soprano saxophone; Craig Taborn: piano; Drew Gress: bass; Mat Maneri: viola; Ryan MacStaller: guitar (1, 8); Andy Taub: banjo (11); Jean Carla Rodea: voice (8, 11); John Cleaver: voice (8).

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Make The Changes" CD/LP/Track Review Make The Changes
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 12, 2016
Read "Innri" CD/LP/Track Review Innri
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 4, 2016
Read "Out 'N' In" CD/LP/Track Review Out 'N' In
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 14, 2016
Read "Return" CD/LP/Track Review Return
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 24, 2016
Read "Guilty Saints" CD/LP/Track Review Guilty Saints
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 18, 2016
Read "Lingo" CD/LP/Track Review Lingo
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 10, 2017

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!