270

Pandelis Karayorgis / Nate McBride / Curt Newton: Betwixt

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Pandelis Karayorgis / Nate McBride / Curt Newton: Betwixt Pianist Pandelis Karayorgis, bassist Nate McBride and drummer Curt Newton debuted as the Mi3 trio in 2005 with We Will Make A Home For You (Clean Feed), a riotous live recording that featured Karayorgis leading the trio on a vintage Fender Rhodes. Their studio follow up, Free Advice (Clean Feed, 2007) found Karayorgis back on home turf, playing acoustic piano. Their most definitive statement yet, Betwixt combines the electronic experimentation of their live debut with the sonic precision of the later studio session.

Dispensing with their ensemble name, the Boston-based, New England Conservatory grads continue down the adventurous path they blazed three years ago. Once again trafficking in a mix of thorny originals and under-sung covers, the trio shines new light on harmonically robust, but underexposed compositions by acknowledged masters, refracting them through a heavily amplified, kaleidoscopic lens.

Drawing from a rich well of classics, pieces by Duke Ellington ("Heaven"), Sun Ra ("Saturn") and Wayne Shorter ("Pinocchio") sit alongside obscure, yet striking tunes by Misha Mengelberg ("Hypochrismutreefuzz") and the trio's spiritual forefather, Hasaan Ibn Ali ("Off My Back Jack"). The inclusion of four covers by Thelonious Monk re-affirms Karayorgis reputation as a foremost interpreter of the master's idiosyncratic aesthetic.

A former student of Paul Bley and adherent of the elliptical approach of Thelonious Monk and Lennie Tristano, Karayorgis uses analog electronics to generate unorthodox alien timbres that transform pitch and tone in the same way his progenitors re-imagined conventional melody and harmony with asymmetrical structures. Karayorgis augments his Fender Rhodes with a Mutron auto-wah pedal, a distortion pedal and a ring modulator, a volatile combination that lends his instrument a mercurial temperament with limitless sonic potential. At his most deconstructive, he pitch bends craggy chromatic tones into other planes of there on Sun Ra's "Saturn."

McBride and Newton tackle elastic swing rhythms with an oblique approach, seamlessly incorporating rubato pulses, infectious ostinatos and intuitive call and response sections. They alternate between sublime coloration and spirited brio, allowing space for Karayorgis to unleash cadences that oscillate from gauzy whispers on the plaintive "Heaven" to psychedelic squalls of gritty feedback on the careening "Humph."

Free Advice was a welcome reminder of Karayorgis' abilities in a traditional acoustic setting. Betwixt reveals him as a sonic architect of the highest order, a visionary improviser whose enthusiasm for the possibilities of sound knows no limit. Together, Karayorgis, McBride and Newton offer a thrilling set guaranteed to turn heads.


Track Listing: Green Chimneys; Saturn; Break Even; Heaven; Hypochrismutreefuzz; Pinocchio; Brake's Sake; Light Blue; Curt's Escape; Off My Back Jack; Humph.

Personnel: Pandelis Karayorgis: Fender Rhodes; Nate McBride: bass; Curt Newton: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Hatology | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "An Eclipse Of Images" CD/LP/Track Review An Eclipse Of Images
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 1, 2016
Read "The Declaration of Musical Independence" CD/LP/Track Review The Declaration of Musical Independence
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Goin' Your Way" CD/LP/Track Review Goin' Your Way
by Doug Collette
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "Convallaria" CD/LP/Track Review Convallaria
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 22, 2016
Read "Summer Skyshift" CD/LP/Track Review Summer Skyshift
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2016

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!

Buy it!