Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Russ Spiegel: Chimera

304

Russ Spiegel: Chimera

By

Sign in to view read count
Russ Spiegel: Chimera
Guitarist Russ Spiegel has come a long way from the time when he was influenced by rock and spent a decade playing that music. The self-confessed latecomer to jazz shows firm grasp of the vocabulary as he takes different forms and builds them into a cohesive unit.

Spiegel wrote six of the tunes on this venture, letting "Cherokee sit between his own compositions. He uses a wide and colorful palette, as he draws on bossa nova, hard bop and rock to paint with his imagination.

Spiegel is an eloquent guitarist. He is lyrical on a ballad and cuts a deep swath when he decides to rock out. More importantly, he constantly develops ideas, never letting interest flag. His band mates tie in well, both when it comes to unraveling their individual permutations and in creating an empathy with each other.

The light airiness of the bossa floats into "Polychrome World. Spiegel unveils the chords and Nick Mancini lays the first notes on the vibraphone, letting the melody seep in and hold there. The beauty of the tune is enhanced by saxophonist Arun Luthra and Spiegel. Spiegel plays the acoustic guitar, his focus on the melodic core; but he sets out in fleet runs and returns only to navigate with a greater deliberation. Luthra is lyrical on the soprano, his notes soaking in the music before he marks his territory with hard, punchy phrases.

Hard bop bleeds into "Chimera. It's a kicker, with David Smith firing a strong fusillade of notes on the trumpet. His forward thrust is picked up by Spiegel, who jumps into the groove and propels it forward, his picking clean and neat. Drummer Anthony Pinciotti is a constant source of energy, as he propels the beat and feeds the front line.

"The Last March has different strands in play over the course of its nearly 12 minutes. It starts out with a march beat, but the martial air is diffused on the cool tones of the vibraphone. The composition continues to remain in jazz territory through the ministrations of Luthra and trumpeter David Smith, the latter particularly inventive in his long individual foray. It is then that Spiegel begins to inveigle himself with some hard rock notes and lets the whole movement roil. The atmosphere becomes heated and charged, and then dips into silence, opening the door for Gary Wang's cooling, single-note runs on the bass to draw Mancini and the horn men back into the fold. A bit of free-form, a harkening back to the original pulse; and it's time to fade out.

Track Listing

Chimera; Polychrome World; The Last March; Cherokee; Wo Bleibt Die Seele; Good Night; Herr Boehnke.

Personnel

Russ Spiegel: guitar; David Smith: trumpet, flugelhorn; Arun Luthra: alto and soprano saxophones; Nick Mancini: vibraphone: Gary Wang: bass; Anthony Pinciotti: drums.

Album information

Title: Chimera | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: SteepleChase Records


Comments

Tags

Concerts

May 23 Thu
Jazz Thursdays at Pub52
Pub52 Gastropub & Kitchen

For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

More

Shadow
Lizz Wright
Horizon Scanners
Jim Baker - Steve Hunt - Jakob Heinemann
Caught In My Own Trap
Kirke Karja / Étienne Renard / Ludwig Wandinger

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.