178

Spooky Actions: Early Music

Rex  Butters By

Sign in to view read count
Spooky Actions: Early Music Bruce Arnold and John Gunther return with their Spooky Actions project, an inventive improvisational interpretation of musics not often tackled by jazz-based units. Having already rearranged the thorny intricacies of Webern and the soaring power of Native American melodies, here they address the haunting subtleties of early music, including variations on themes by Monteverdi, Dufay, and Von Bingen, as well as Gregorian chant. The quartet achieves a skillful balance in creating modern arrangements that retain connections to the deep reverence of the originals.

With Gunther on flute and Mike Richmond on cello doubling the theme, Von Bingen's "De Virginibus O Nobilissima Viriditas" yields its gentle beauty nestled in the atmospheric processed guitar of Arnold. Kirk Driscoll's spare, steady percussion keeps the ethereal piece grounded. Arnold weaves clear-toned innovations on Dufay's "Vergine Bella." With Gunther on sensual soprano, Driscoll and Richmond create a breezy tension.

The brief take on Monteverdi's "Canzonet 1,2, & 3" has the light sophistication of a Ben Allison track, while "Gregorian Chant" gets a surprisingly vigorous reading. Likewise, "Introit, Gaudeamus Omnes" becomes a gentle whirlpool as the contrapuntal round unfolds. Based on music written in the second century BC, "Epitaph of Seikilos" appropriately emerges from a mist of Frippian guitar effects. Gunther's tenor doubles Richmond's bowed bass through the reflective theme, before sending smokey tones entwining electronic swells.

Driscoll and Richmond tap the joy of "Alleluya," with Gunther celebrating on flute. Arnold takes a wiry solo before supporting Gunther's extended flight. Arnold again electronically orchestrates on "Ode from the Kanon for Easter Sunday," setting the stage of Gunther's bass clarinet, and then bringing a springy altered guitar sound to the composition.

Spooky Actions manage to shine a modern light on ancient sacred music without bleaching the dark mysteries inherent in the initial design.


Track Listing: De Virginibus O Nobilissima Viriditas; Vergine Bella; Canzonet 1, 2, & 3 (from 21 canzonets for 3 instruments); Gregorian Chant, Introit, Gaudeamus Omnes; Epitaph of Seikilos; Alleluya (Nativitas); Ode from the Kanon for Easter Sunday.

Personnel: Bruce Arnold- electric processed guitar; John Gunther- flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Kirk Driscoll- drums, percussion; Mike Richmond- bass, cello.

Title: Early Music | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Muse Eek


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Sonder CD/LP/Track Review Sonder
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Putting Off Death CD/LP/Track Review Putting Off Death
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Together, As One" CD/LP/Track Review Together, As One
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Nocturno" CD/LP/Track Review Nocturno
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 9, 2017
Read "Forgiveness Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Forgiveness Suite
by John Sharpe
Published: November 15, 2016
Read "Caipi" CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Momentum" CD/LP/Track Review Momentum
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Translator's Note" CD/LP/Track Review Translator's Note
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 28, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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