Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

323

Michael Bates: Clockwise

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Clockwise is the third offering from Canadian-born bassist Michael Bates' ensemble Outside Sources. Charting impressive compositional growth since his previous album, A Fine Balance (Between the Lines, 2004), this session finds the Brooklyn-based composer leading his quartet through a dynamically varied program. Fueled by youthful verve, he deftly combines adventurous post-bop structures with the advanced compositional strategies of classical chamber music.

Bates' current touring quartet features longstanding partner Canadian saxophonist Quinsin Nachoff and ubiquitous Downtown musicians Russ Johnson (trumpet) and Jeff Davis (drums). With studied virtuosity, sensitive listening skills and intuitive interplay, they seamlessly blur the line between the written and improvised as they navigate Bates' thorny contrapuntal themes, staggered metric tempos and endlessly shifting rhythms.

The premier of a distinctive new voice, Bates has shed the influence of trumpeter Dave Douglas, whose shadow weighed heavily over his previous work. Driven by the same communal DIY aesthetic that informed his punk rock roots, Bates' writing employs the angular melodic ingenuity of his peers with an abiding interest in the emotional drama and harmonic complexity of the Russian school of classical composition.

"Great Exhibition" and "Fellini" demonstrate Bates' flair for opulent harmonies, cinematic atmospheres and elaborate counterpoint. The former blends neo-classical overtones with mercurial rhythmic accents while the later paints a carnivalesque portrait of the revered Italian director that episodically transforms from light-hearted to ominous.

Bolstering punchy hard bop with unfettered vigor, "Damasa" and "Machinery" veer from Ornettish elasticity to Milesian precision. The tenacious front line of Nachoff and Johnson provide cathartic intensity as they careen through Bates' labyrinthine compositions fueled by the leader's magnanimous contributions and Jeff Davis' roiling accents.

Bates' love of modernist Eastern European composers like Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Bartok reveals itself on "Machinery" and "Fellini," which incorporate fragments of Russian tinged folk melodies, while "Great Exhibition" invokes the ebullience of Stravinsky and the mini-trumpet concerto "Marching" employs a rousing, symphonic theme. Appropriately titled, "The Russian School" moves from petulant indignation to heartbreaking solemnity and back again; Nachoff's volatile tenor protests vehemently while Johnson's dulcet trumpet offers rays of hope.

Demonstrating compositional maturity and harmonic confidence, Bates also offers a selection of tunes that eschew high-minded complexity in favor of emotionally direct simplicity. "Rideau Medals" and "Lighthousekeeping" offer fleeting euphony that drifts from serene melancholy to bittersweet optimism. Similarly unadorned but far more assertive, the bluesy noir groove of "Bloodletting" inspires a gruff tenor testimonial from Nachoff accompanied by Johnson's expressively vocalized interjections.

Clockwise is a breakthrough album, revealing a wellspring of possibilities from an up and coming composer. A stalwart instrumentalist with sublime writing skills, Michael Bates is an artist to watch.


Track Listing: Great Exhibition; Damasa; Rideau Medals; Machinery; Fellini; Lighthousekeeping; Marching; Bloodletting; The Russian School.

Personnel: Michael Bates: double bass; Russ Johnson: trumpet; Quinsin Nachoff: saxophone, clarinet; Jeff Davis: drums.

Title: Clockwise | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Greenleaf Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Formidable CD/LP/Track Review Formidable
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Cochonnerie CD/LP/Track Review Cochonnerie
by John Sharpe
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Threes CD/LP/Track Review Threes
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Smoke CD/LP/Track Review Smoke
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read "Wake Up Call" CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Binary" CD/LP/Track Review Binary
by John Sharpe
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "Lacy Pool_2" CD/LP/Track Review Lacy Pool_2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 14, 2017
Read "Dancing Our Way To Death" CD/LP/Track Review Dancing Our Way To Death
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "A Social Call" CD/LP/Track Review A Social Call
by James Nadal
Published: May 25, 2017
Read "Morphogenesis" CD/LP/Track Review Morphogenesis
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 13, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor