245

Joel Newton Situation: Crying and Laughing

By

Sign in to view read count
Joel Newton Situation: Crying and Laughing How about this—a band that works together regularly, playing music that is an astounding mix of free and composed with dashes of dance, minimalism and group improvisation? Guitarist Joel Newton is the composer here, and he has done up half-a-dozen ways for his band members to show off their best stuff as well as to give life to his rich creations.

Let us direct listeners first to the gorgeous "New Day. It's a hymn, it seems, to the glory of creation itself and also a damned pretty ballad. Ben Stivers plays keyboards and beautifully shadows the statement of the melody, which seems to grow as it unfolds. It's a kind of mission statement for the album—immediately accessible yet suggestive of new colors. The players sound like a new/old organ group and they make the most of this simple yet powerful tune.

Then you might try "Octopus Pants. A sea creature is at home in its world and its movements start off in a "funk and then become a kind of perpetual mobile of underwater activity. This is smart and appealing new music and it most certainly helps that these players—Newton, Ben Stivers, Toshi Someya (bass) and Eric Halvorsen (drums)—have had the opportunity to work up a sensibility that gives them a group identity.

The title tune is a little gem—a suggestion of a dark and new samba that quietly grinds on in its subtle way and makes its whole journey in just over two minutes. Newton solos over the groove and is eloquent and passionate while barely getting above a whisper. The tune is a model of expressive economy.

Complementing the written tunes are three improvisations, and it's to the credit of these musicians that they feel part of an organic whole, as well as important statements on their own. "Esopus (an American Indian tribe from upstate New York and a town and magazine from that area), a nearly twelve-minute work, is essentially a sonic landscape that moves from color to color yet still manages to feel structured. Newton says of the music on this album, "[it's about] how we interpret songs and how we interpret a blank space.


Track Listing: Little Devil; Octopus Pants; New Day; In The Wind; Quintisms; Feeding Time; Esopus; Crying and Laughing; Homeward.

Personnel: Joel Newton: guitar; Ben Stivers: keyboards; Toshi Someya: bass; Eric Halvorsen: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Joel Newton | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Pass It On" CD/LP/Track Review Pass It On
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 11, 2016
Read "Work" CD/LP/Track Review Work
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 13, 2016
Read "Floa" CD/LP/Track Review Floa
by Phil Barnes
Published: July 23, 2016
Read "Rumbler" CD/LP/Track Review Rumbler
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 2, 2017
Read "Inerrant Space" CD/LP/Track Review Inerrant Space
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 17, 2016
Read "Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Volume 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 19, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!