250

Samuel Blaser: Consort in Motion

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Samuel Blaser: Consort in Motion Initially defined by composer Gunther Schuller in the late 1950s as a synthesis of jazz improvisation and classical composition, the Third Stream movement has since drifted into relative obscurity. However, in the ensuing decades the milieu has provided fertile ground for a number of visionary artists to make bold statements. The increasingly commonplace role of conservatory educations for enterprising jazz musicians has also brought newfound potential to this aesthetic; the number of young artists versed in classical composition and jazz improvisation is greater now than ever before.

Conservatory-trained Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser came of age listening to classical music, with a fondness for the Baroque period. Numerous articles have been written about the technical similarities between Baroque music and bebop, so the merger of the two is no great surprise—that Blaser so seamlessly juxtaposes Renaissance-era melodies, harmonies and rhythms with advanced post-bop progressions and modulating time signatures is. Drawing upon the work of Claudio Montiverdi and a handful of his 17th Century Italian contemporaries, Blaser rearranges these pieces in novel ways, illuminating sonic parallels between compositions written centuries ago and the music of today.

For Consort in Motion, his fifth album as a leader/co-leader, Blaser is joined by an intriguing mix of personalities, including pianist Russ Lossing, bassist Thomas Morgan and legendary drummer Paul Motian. Blaser hand-picked Motian for the session, Morgan is a longstanding associate of the trombonist, and Lossing is the line-up's wildcard; his frenetic abstractions contrast vividly with the young leader's contemplative ruminations, making an ideal foil while elevating the date beyond mere formalism.

Blaser accelerates the melodies of chromatic madrigals ("Reflections on Piagn'e Sospira") into swelling plays of light and shadow, fuses Gregorian themes ("Reflections on Vespro della Beata Vergine") with Italian toccatas that percolate with incandescent fervor and reprises Montiverdi's "Ritornello" across the set—conceptually emulating its use in the opera "Orfeo." Blaser's supple multiphonic variations resonate with soulful sustain throughout the date—a probing approach equal parts melancholic lament and burgeoning ardor. His plangent cadences soar effortlessly over Morgan's cubist interpolations and Motian's keenly placed accents, whose atmospheric cymbal strikes and surprisingly volatile snare roll interjections provide just the right amount of austere restraint and wily unpredictability in this impressionistic setting. Lossing's oblique ruminations cascade across the keys, tumbling forth with impulsive zeal tempered by pellucid finesse, instilling Blaser's expansive interpretation of these timeless works with irrepressible vitality.

Fearlessly modern, yet respectfully regal, Blaser's adventurous arrangements and reinterpretations offer the best of both worlds, enriching the raw impetuousness of avant-garde jazz with the proven sophistication of ageless classical forms. Consort in Motion is a high-water mark in the enduring lineage of the Third Stream, and all the more inspiring for the focus of its vision.

Track Listing: Lamento della Ninfa; Reflections on Piagn'e Sospira; Reflections on Toccata; Passacaglia; Ritornello;Si Dolce e l'Tormento; Balletto Secondo--Retirata; Reflections on Vespro della Beata Vergine; Ritornello; Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria--Atto Quatro, scene II.

Personnel: Samuel Blaser: trombone; Russ Lossing piano; Thmoas Morgan: bass; Paul Motian: drums.

Title: Consort in Motion | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Kind of Blue Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Antidote CD/LP/Track Review Antidote
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 29, 2017
Read The Colours Suite CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 29, 2017
Read Musical Journey Through Time CD/LP/Track Review Musical Journey Through Time
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 29, 2017
Read Gentle Giants CD/LP/Track Review Gentle Giants
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 29, 2017
Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "Morphogenesis" CD/LP/Track Review Morphogenesis
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 13, 2017
Read "The Outlier" CD/LP/Track Review The Outlier
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 16, 2016
Read "Dialectrical" CD/LP/Track Review Dialectrical
by John Sharpe
Published: June 19, 2017
Read "TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)" CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Salt Task" CD/LP/Track Review Salt Task
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 15, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.