287

Chamber Jazz

Nick Catalano By

Sign in to view read count
The term "chamber jazz" has risen steadily in prominence in recent years and dealing with its essence is not a simple matter. Jazz seems to constantly involve itself with terms (swing, hard bop, fusion) that defy meaningful compartmentalization. I spend hours discussing some of these terms in my jazz class at Pace University and often fail to give my students word pictures of these terms that are precise enough for their needs.

I have referenced "chamber jazz" in past columns. Paquito D'Rivera's Panamericana group utilizes some classical instruments i.e. harps and cellos and I have used the term to describe the experimental nature of the music played on the band's new CD Paquito D'Rivera's Panamericana Suite (see last month's New York Beat).

FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD


Waltz for Moe

Paquito D'Rivera

Panamericana Suite

8:50


In addition to the classical instruments, when I wrote the review, I was thinking about the intimate sounds created by the band which hearken back to those produced by The Modern Jazz Quartet and similar aggregations. It is music originally intended for the parlor in the classical tradition but jazz has little affinity with parlors as performing venues. It is usually played by small string ensembles, but jazz has rarely relied on strings to make its major statements. How then can the term be helpful in analyzing such jazz creations?

I was mulling this over recently and came upon a British CD from a quartet dubbed Neon. Catch Me on Edition Records features four musicians playing music which comfortably fits into the term "chamber jazz." With Kit Downes on piano, Stan Sulzmann on saxophones, Jim Hart on vibes and marimba and Tim Giles on drums, Neon captures much of the essence of what I think of when I use the term chamber jazz. The music features the themes and variations and contrapuntal melodies typical of classical chamber music but encases these in call and response motifs punctuated by the rhythmic textures of jazz. The intimacy and cohesion of the classical music is omnipresent but it is, of course, expressed improvisationally albeit with the same sense of unity heard from the string quartets in the parlors of old King George.

Selections such as "Cloak and Dagger" and "Torino" best epitomize the efforts of Neon, a group which will hopefully be on display in stateside festivals this summer.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Jelly Roll Morton Front and (Lincoln) Center New York Beat Jelly Roll Morton Front and (Lincoln) Center
by Nick Catalano
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Pat Martino at The Jazz Standard New York Beat Pat Martino at The Jazz Standard
by Nick Catalano
Published: August 8, 2017
Read John Pizzarelli Celebrates Sinatra-Jobim New York Beat John Pizzarelli Celebrates Sinatra-Jobim
by Nick Catalano
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Collegiate Jazz at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola New York Beat Collegiate Jazz at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
by Nick Catalano
Published: March 31, 2017
Read John Pizzarelli Soars at Birdland New York Beat John Pizzarelli Soars at Birdland
by Nick Catalano
Published: September 16, 2016
Read Joey DeFrancesco at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola New York Beat Joey DeFrancesco at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
by Nick Catalano
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "John Pizzarelli Celebrates Sinatra-Jobim" New York Beat John Pizzarelli Celebrates Sinatra-Jobim
by Nick Catalano
Published: July 21, 2017
Read "Pat Martino at The Jazz Standard" New York Beat Pat Martino at The Jazz Standard
by Nick Catalano
Published: August 8, 2017
Read "Jelly Roll Morton Front and (Lincoln) Center" New York Beat Jelly Roll Morton Front and (Lincoln) Center
by Nick Catalano
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "Collegiate Jazz at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola" New York Beat Collegiate Jazz at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
by Nick Catalano
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "Jazz & The Wolf" Philosophisticated Lady Jazz & The Wolf
by Marithe Van der Aa
Published: August 11, 2017
Read "WAR with Malo At Stern Grove" Live Reviews WAR with Malo At Stern Grove
by Walter Atkins
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "Bob Niederitter Trio At The Bop Stop" Live Reviews Bob Niederitter Trio At The Bop Stop
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 9, 2017
Read ""Georgia On My Mind" by Hoagy Carmichael" Anatomy of a Standard "Georgia On My Mind" by Hoagy Carmichael
by Tish Oney
Published: July 28, 2017
Read "Beth Hart at the Historic Wuppertal Statehouse" Live Reviews Beth Hart at the Historic Wuppertal Statehouse
by Phillip Woolever
Published: June 9, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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