Philip Gelb performs on the “shakuhachi” which is a Japanese flute made from bamboo with 4 finger holes and 1 thumbhole. Here, Mr. Gelb devises an interesting yet non-formulaic approach as he integrates his ideas into non-mainstream formats which include free-improvisation and electronics. The first piece, titled “The Space Between” was recorded live at Beanbender’s in Berkely, CA. Clocking in at 29 minutes, Gelb performs along with accordionist Pauline Oliveros, ROVA’s saxophonist Jon Raskin and pianist Dana Reason. This piece commences in somewhat of a playful and nonchalant manner as the group explore abstract tonalities and purvey improvisational dialogue. The band succeed at stimulating the senses and toying with one’s imagination. An emotional element prevails throughout, as Raskin and Oliveros provide contrast with Gelb’s shakuhachi performances especially when they converge in the upper registers of their respective instruments. The vibe at times is eerie and/or mystical yet the totality of the music conveys somewhat of an organic feel.
The 2nd piece titled, “Waves” was recorded live at Mills College as Gelb teams with synthesist and sampler expert, Chris Brown. On this 18-minute piece, Gelb performs over backwashes of what sounds like a babbling brook along with other curiously produced samples and electronics. The fun begins when Brown mimics – in interactive mode- Gelb’s instrument as he may have been sampling the instrument on stage, in a dynamic manner. The music is otherworldly as if spirits were communicating amongst themselves. Gelb and Brown do a commendable job of gradually evolving the music into something cohesive, which affords the listener the opportunity to follow and grasp the various themes similar to a growth cycle or a maturation process.
Between/Waves is refreshing, chilling, startling and altogether entertaining. Needless to state this isn’t elevator music! Gelb and Company offer up something which is rather unique, thoroughly modern and brimming with ingenuity! Highly Recommended - * * * * ½
Web/Ordering Info - http://www.shakuhachi.com/R-Shaku-Gelb.html
Track Listing: The Space Between; Waves.
Personnel: Philip Gelb: shakuhachi; Pauline Oliveros: accordion, conch; Jon Raskin: saxes; Dana Reason: piano; Chris
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.