262

Charlie Kniceley Quartet: Blinga

By

Sign in to view read count
Fusion fans will probably disagree, but in most jazz settings, the electric bass fits about as well as a pickle in a jar of peanut butter. The rich timbre of the acoustic upright is hard to beat and frequently its electrified cousin is the weapon of choice for poppin' and snappin' technicians who revel in showing off their mastery of the Barney Miller theme or, worse, those annoying little segues after the commercials on Seinfeld. But in the hands of Charlie Kniceley, who's played with everyone from Jack DeJohnette to Connie Francis, the instrument somehow becomes a vehicle of taste, its player bringing out the subtle tones that most of his histrionic peers overlook. Kniceley worries more about playing for the big picture and less about trying to be the next Jaco Pastorius, thank you very much.

Although the Charlie Kniceley Quartet was a regular presence on the upstate New York scene in the late 1970s, the group never got around to releasing any recordings at the time. But luckily for lovers of fine post bop sounds, Kniceley recently reformed the band after a 25-year hiatus to correct that situation, resulting in this sharp 65-minute set.

Captured live at the Rosendale Café in Rosendale, New York, the quartet is rounded out by saxophonist Ed Xiques, drummer Steve Haas, and pianist Mike Kull. Its roiling, twinkling sound summons the spirit of the Coltrane Quartet; on the lead track, "Why, Xiques' soprano takes a motif lifted from "My Funny Valentine and twists it through a web of Trane-inspired Middle-Eastern modes. Adding to the Coltrane comparisons is Kull, whose icy, crystalline technique recalls that of McCoy Tyner as well as one of Tyner's own muses, Teddy Wilson.

Kniceley and Xiques split the songwriting duties for "Blinga nearly down the middle: Kinceley, four; Xiques, three. Yet ironically it's Xiques' "Spacewalk that serves as the scenario for Kniceley's most memorable solo, an inspired passage that sees him negotiating the neck of his instrument with flawless fluidity and enough tunefulness to sustain the attention of even the least jazz-friendly listener.

But the most arresting moments come during the disc's extended title piece. In a mere 10:40, the quartet brings the Sahara to Rosendale as Xique's Arabian spell hovers high above Kniceley and Kull's tandem sinister, walking lines.

After such a lengthy sabbatical, fans of the Charlie Kniceley Quartet will certainly find this record to have been worth the wait. Hopefully they won't have to wait so long for the next one.

Visit Charlie Kniceley on the web.


Track Listing: Why; The Dream; Spacewalk; Cire; Triple Blues; St. Blaise; Blinga.

Personnel: Charlie Kniceley: bass; Ed Xiques: saxophones; Steve Haas: drums; Mike Kull: piano.

Title: Blinga | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Carry Fire" CD/LP/Track Review Carry Fire
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 22, 2017
Read "Desire & Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Malnoia" CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Sing Me Some Cry" CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "The Long Slog" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Slog
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 11, 2017
Read "Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds" CD/LP/Track Review Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 6, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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