All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

6

Marnix Busstra: Firm Fragile Fun

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Can a single word sum up the meaning and magic of a song? In the large majority of cases, the answer is no. But that doesn't mean a brief descriptor can't serve as a window into a composition's bearing. Just look at the track titles on the latest release from Dutch guitarist-composer Marnix Busstra: each song on Firm Fragile Fun gets its name from a single word assigned to it by some of Busstra's non-musician friends, instantaneously bringing to light the perceived heart of the matter(s).

While some may say that the method of creation behind these song titles is merely a gimmick, those same people would be missing the point: if music is a tool of expression and communication, why shouldn't those on the receiving end be given a say in explaining the feel(ing) of a song? The title of a song does absolutely nothing to change the music itself, but the naming method behind these songs says a lot about Busstra's willingness to let his music speak to listeners on their own terms, rather than what's dictated to them. And in many cases, Busstra's buddies do a fine job of summing up the central tenets of his music. "Joy," for example, is a perfect encapsulation of a four-minute number in three letters. Consonance wins out as Busstra strums in sunny fashion and pianist Rembrandt Frerichs delivers uplifting chording with hints of spirited South African Goema. Whoever was charged with naming that one hit the nail on the head.

In other places, it's tempting to argue with the title choices: the guitar-piano performance dubbed "Fragile" may have been better served with a title like "Peaceful"; the swaggering "Fun" could just as easily be "Swampy" or "Chipper," depending largely on whether drummer Pieter Bast's NOLA-ish groove or the melodic content is seen as the defining trait; "Deep" might be deemed "Meditative" by another set of ears; and "Crazy" could be "Intense" or "Ominous," as danger seems to lurk around the corner thanks to Arnold Dooyeweerd's bass lines and Busstra's suspenseful soloing. But those thoughts are only the semi-argumentative musings of one man. Meaning is in the mind of the beholder, and you can't blame somebody or second guess them for gleaning what they glean from a song. Ultimately, the substance is more important than the title(s), and there's plenty of substance to soak in on this one.

Track Listing: Stress; Fun; Firm; Mild; Joy; Deep; Crazy; Smoky; Moody; Fragile; Gone.

Personnel: Marnix Busstra: guitar, bouzouki, electric sitar; Rembrandt Frerichs: piano; Arnold Dooyeweerd: double bass; Pieter Bast: drums.

Title: Firm Fragile Fun | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Mønk CD/LP/Track Review
Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Hidden Details CD/LP/Track Review
Hidden Details
by John Kelman
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Selective Coverage CD/LP/Track Review
Selective Coverage
by Jim Olin
Published: September 20, 2018
Read Fat Daddy CD/LP/Track Review
Fat Daddy
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Short Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Short Stories
by Gareth Thompson
Published: September 19, 2018
Read "Fire With Fire" CD/LP/Track Review Fire With Fire
by Gareth Thompson
Published: February 16, 2018
Read "Alto Gusto" CD/LP/Track Review Alto Gusto
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 20, 2017
Read "The Heart Of Infinite Change" CD/LP/Track Review The Heart Of Infinite Change
by Walter Atkins
Published: October 28, 2017
Read "Arise" CD/LP/Track Review Arise
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 10, 2017
Read "Last Things Last" CD/LP/Track Review Last Things Last
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 26, 2018
Read "Black Times" CD/LP/Track Review Black Times
by Chris May
Published: March 8, 2018