On Feeding Frenzy multi-instrumentalist Vinny Golia explores the borders between modern classical music and modern jazz. He has chosen a string quartet to accompany him on his forays through the dizzying woodwind (various flutes and clarinets) forests he has built for this project. They start with "Title Sequence," a thorny hedgerow of Penderecki-like string and Gershwin-esque clarinet themes. After the form is stated, the music moves into jazz territory with the sophisticated bass work of Ken Filiano. Upon the shifting rhythms of the strings, Golia quickly moves into uncharted territory where the words "classical" and "jazz" no longer need apply. The juxtaposition of Penderecki and Gershwin remain throughout the piece, but grow into a music that offers a new perspective on what can happen between these genres. "She's Joan Raymond" begins slow and moody, then draws momentum from spiraling flute gestures, the strings improvise counter melodies to Golia's lines, and the piece becomes a fluid whole. It feels like small waves lapping against a cat-tailed pond bank.
"Things The Dobsons Could Have Taught Us" begins with a duet between Filiano and one of the violinists. The piece moves into the glissandi territories often explored by Iannis Xenakis in his orchestral works; when Golia enters on bass clarinet, he brings with him some of the regions explored by Anthony Braxton. Please bear in mind that these pieces are not derivative of Penderecki, Gershwin, or Braxtonthese terms are nothing more than road markers to describe this music more effectively! Each of these musicians has very strong ideas and voices all his own, and every piece is a beautiful combination of form and improvisation.
In another piece the ensemble explores non-tempered variations of mood and color. In another, the contrasts and commonalities between pointillism and fluidity. At times Golia sounds like he's playing an electronic instrumentalthough he's not, his tonal quality strongly suggests it. On and on, this group explores the many possibilities available on their instruments.
Vinny Golia is a fountainhead of musical history, instrumental technique, compositional styles, and infallible precision. Like Braxton, he has a vast catalog of recordings and understands the scope of the challenge of being a modern musician. On this disk he covers a lot of ideas and moods with panache.
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