169

Tethered Moon: Experiencing Tosca

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Tethered Moon: Experiencing Tosca With Marilyn Crispell’s new disk, Storyteller , the implication of changing one member of a trio so deeply entrenched in group interplay was clearly evident. The same thing could be said for Tethered Moon’s new disk, Experiencing Tosca , where the rhythm section of bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Paul Motian, who were mainstays of Marilyn Crispell’s earlier ECM recordings, are teamed with pianist Masabumi Kikuchi. With the same rhythm section team and pianists who are similarly influenced by Paul Bley’s free approach, one might wonder where the differences lie. But while there are clear lines of sight between Crispell and Kikuchi, there is more to distinguish the two, despite the similar support.

The Tethered Moon group, under Kikuchi’s leadership, has been together intermittently for nearly fifteen years with six recordings under their belt. Unlike Crispell’s trio, where the majority of the material is original or, in some cases, spontaneous group compositions, Tethered Moon’s primary modus operandi has been to offer up tribute disks, which have featured writers as diverse Kurt Weill, Jimi Hendrix and Edith Piaf. But the source material has always been used as the barest sketch, the real idea being to use it as a frame of reference, supplying the thrust for collective improvisation and, to continue the comparison to Crispell, to further the concept of spontaneous composition.

But whereas Crispell’s recent work has been marked by a certain kind of thoughtful and introspective intensity, Kikuchi can be far more outgoing. That’s not to say he can’t be pensive, but his energy is more direct, more overt. And with Peacock’s compelling bass lines and Motian’s textural playing the result is music that spans gentle delicacy to something just shy of freewheeling.

With the music of Puccini’s Tosca as the starting point, one would expect a richer degree of lyricism, something more sentimental and tender; but in the hands of Tethered Moon the results are often surprising. Pieces may open up gently, but before long they move into unpredictable territory. While the trio can be elegant, more often than not it is angular and edgy. But neither is this the kind of assertive free-style playing that one expects from Cecil Taylor or, for that matter, some of Crispell’s non-ECM output; as concentrated as the playing sometimes gets, space is of vital importance. Motian, while somewhat uncharacteristically extroverted at times, is still the ethereal colourist, leaving as much to the imagination as the ideas he puts forward; Peacock examines the cracks left by Kikuchi, supplying harmonic counterpoint without ever settling into anything regular; and Kikuchi seems to almost squeeze out the notes at times, sometimes in a linear fashion, other times in close clusters.

Experiencing Tosca may be the most successful Tethered Moon project. The interplay is sharp while the images are abstract, and there is solid evidence that while they only meet intermittently, Kikuchi, Peacock and Motian share a clear collective vision.

Visit Winter and Winter on the web.


Track Listing: Prologue; Part I; Part II; Part III; Homage to Puccini; Ballad; Blues for Tosca; Part IV

Personnel: Masabumi Kikuchi (piano), Gary Peacock (double-bass), Paul Motian (drums)

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Winter & Winter | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

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 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 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 "2nd Thoughts" CD/LP/Track Review 2nd Thoughts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 8, 2017
Read "Pascal Battus / Dafne Vicente-Sandoval</em>" CD/LP/Track Review Pascal Battus / Dafne Vicente-Sandoval</em>
by John Eyles
Published: June 17, 2016
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "December Songs" CD/LP/Track Review December Songs
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "Intermetallic Compounds" CD/LP/Track Review Intermetallic Compounds
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 18, 2016
Read "The Scrambling Ex" CD/LP/Track Review The Scrambling Ex
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 24, 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!