Delmark Records: The Chicago Luzern Exchange and SavoirFaire

Mark F. Turner By

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The Delmark record label has a rich history of providing diverse jazz music for many years with a roster of names such as Bobby Broom, Rob Mazurek, Anthony Braxton, and Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls. These two new releases are added to that extensive lineup providing an informal study in contrasts of sound and music.

The Chicago Luzern Exchange
Several Lights
Delmark Records

Take four highly trained young musicians in Chicago with avant-garde influences of groups like the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Ornette Coleman, and active involvement in The Emerging Improvisers Organization and you'll slowly form the picture of a group not bound by restrictions of the jazz status quo. The group's name (The Chicago Luzern Exchange) is derived from three musicians from Chicago: Josh Berman (cornet), Keefe Jackson (tenor sax), Frank Rosaly (drums) and one from Switzerland: Mark Unternahrer (tuba). The nineteen "free improvs on the recording create a patch-work of sounds and textures as opposed to conventional forms of music. The collaboration and individuality of each musician and their instruments is sparked by spontaneity and self expression. Imagine the beauty and distinct timbre of each instrument's voice performed in cacophony yet uniformity, free solos without melody, but altogether harmonious. With no standard lines of melody the pieces are a challenge to absorb all at once but when taken individually shows the creativity and ingenuity each musician brings to the recording. A good example is witnessed on "Trouble with acoustic sounds producing weird and wonderful noises, guttural slurs, that are are totally unrestrained. For free-minded and mature listeners only.

Running Out of Time
Delmark Records

While the sounds of violinist SavoirFaire are more along conventional lines this set of music will not easily be classified into a nice little box. The South Side Chicago musician is a good depiction of a young artist who freely embraces many musical ideas. As a child prodigy Samuel "SavoirFaire" Williams' first professional gig was at the age of five at the Chicago Symphony Center's Orchestra Hall, but his latest recording as an adult musician explores elements including hip-hop, world music, and rock with a strong jazz base. The fact that SavoirFaire is an accomplished violinist quickly becomes apparent with his impressive chops, earthy tone, and style in the vein of fellow violinists like Billy Bang, John Blake, and Didier Lockwood. Balanced by an equally energetic band, the recording has a raw intensity and plenty of space to articulate diverse ideas. Take your pick from the swinging title opener, the hypno-looping "One Inch Angels, the Latin persuasion-rich "Martitha, the hip-hop flavored "Time Table, or even the classical closer "Aspen's Woes —all done SavoirFaire's way quite impressively.

Several Lights

Personnel: Josh Berman: cornet; Keefe Jackson: tenor saxophone; Frank Rosaly: drums; Mark Unternahrer: tuba.

Tracks: Slips; Five Handfuls; Three Of Three; Skidding; One Of Three; Trouble; Our Thing; Pedal Past; Soon Enough; Dos; A Little Paler; Fairly Fast; Walls; Take The Place; Over The Wire; Spend Your Life; Two Of Three; Someone Came And Took Yours And Left You His; One-O-One.

Running Out of Time

Personnel: Samuel 'SavoirFaire' Williams: violin; Bill Mackay: guitar; Ben Patterson: piano; Corey Radford: drums; Kurt Schweitz: bass

Tracks: Running Out of Time; One Inch Angels; Room for More; Martitha; Pendulum; Surazal; Interlude; Timetable; Sommer's Ashes; Aspen's Woes.

Visit The Chicago Luzern Exchange and SavoirFaire on the web.


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