All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

24

Dana Jessen: Carve

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
The bassoon rarely makes an appearance outside of the orchestral setting though it has found a place in jazz recordings dating back to Paul Whiteman and much later with Chick Corea. The instrument is considered one of the most difficult to play but its natural range and dynamics are far-reaching and versatile. Add in electronics and extended techniques and you have a unique instrument going beyond its already exceptional array. That is what Dana Jessen has delivered on Carve, an inventive an unusual album of original works and those of several modern creative music composers.

Jessen is a busy contributor in the chamber music genre, as well a soloist and impressive improviser. She is the founder of Splinter Reeds, a reed quintet, and has performed with Anthony Braxton's Tri-Centric Orchestra among many other groups. Jessen holds advanced degrees in Bassoon Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music and Improvisation from the Artez Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in the Netherlands.

Carve opens with "Of an Implacable Subtraction," a darkly melancholy piece from the innovative composer Paula Matthusen, its odd meters and multiple layers adding an unexpected fullness to the instrumentation. At times, "Fireflies in Winter" sounds more like foghorns in the harbor but as it builds, Jessen's vision comes to fruition with remarkable clarity. That depth is replaced with an emphasis on technique, on the brief title track which features Jessen playing the reed only. High pitched and oddly organic, it is the top of the roller-coaster to the subsequent "Cadenza & Degradation." The title track is presented in three additional variations including bassoon, without reed and bassoon with teeth. At more than thirteen minutes in length, the Kyle Bruckmann composition plays out in the lower register of the bassoon; a dark, eerie melody augmented by lacey effects floating almost out of earshot and Jessen providing her own bass effects. The bassoonist later rivals Peter Brötzmann's tenor with an unanticipated and menacing growl.

For those who appreciate unusual applications of familiar instruments—such as the accordion techniques of Pauline Oliveros or the solo soprano saxophone experiments of Sam Newsome— there is that element of surprising improvisation in Jessen's work. Far from being a novelty recording, Carve is an eye-opening experience in the ways of an underutilized instrument. Jessen's virtuosity, and selection for this program, make this an intriguing listening experience.

Track Listing: Of an Implacable Subtraction; Carve (Without Reed); Points Against Fields (Tombeau de Bernard Parmegiani); Carve (With Teeth); Fireflies in Winter; Carve (Only Reed); Carve (Postlude).

Personnel: Dana Jessen: bassoon, electronics.

Title: Carve | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Innova Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
  • Carve by Karl Ackermann
Read more articles
Carve

Carve

Innova Recordings
2017

buy

Related Articles

Read Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller CD/LP/Track Review
Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Vera CD/LP/Track Review
Vera
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 18, 2018
Read In Motion CD/LP/Track Review
In Motion
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Marshian Time Slip CD/LP/Track Review
Marshian Time Slip
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Four On The Road CD/LP/Track Review
Four On The Road
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 17, 2018
Read "Train Of Thought" CD/LP/Track Review Train Of Thought
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 8, 2017
Read "Red October" CD/LP/Track Review Red October
by Daniel Barbiero
Published: April 11, 2018
Read "All Soundings Are True" CD/LP/Track Review All Soundings Are True
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 31, 2017
Read "My Singing Fingers" CD/LP/Track Review My Singing Fingers
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 25, 2018
Read "Provenance" CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "The Chase" CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017