304

Russ Spiegel: Chimera

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
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.

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


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
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 "In Times Like These" CD/LP/Track Review In Times Like These
by James Nadal
Published: May 13, 2017
Read "Musical Journey Through Time" CD/LP/Track Review Musical Journey Through Time
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 29, 2017
Read "Off Beat" CD/LP/Track Review Off Beat
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: August 9, 2017
Read "Fly Or Die" CD/LP/Track Review Fly Or Die
by John Sharpe
Published: July 10, 2017
Read "Ignacio" CD/LP/Track Review Ignacio
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "Serpentines" CD/LP/Track Review Serpentines
by John Sharpe
Published: December 15, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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