83

Cloning Americana: For Which It Stands

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
Cloning Americana: For Which It Stands What are the color and the tone and texture of the music of protest and rebellion? Not red, it appears, but red white and tinged with the blues. At least this is what is posited by Cloning Americana, the ensemble that comprises saxophonist/clarinetist Billy Drewes, pianist Gary Versace bassist Scott Lee and drummer Jeff Hirshfield. Their quiet protest is a result of the belief that there is a "decline in the basic social values of respect, compassion and tolerance." This is not the first time that jazz has called America out on its hypocrisy—of preaching human rights and values but having none. It is often forgotten that jazz has always been the music of protest, from the plantation to the penitentiary; from the backyards of chicken shacks to gilded concert halls. It began as the language of the African-American slave, shouting out for his and her pain to be heard. It continued in the stolen music by empathizing white Americans, who understood what it was to feel deprived and downtrodden.

Does such an acrimonious reality have room for the luscious sound of Drewes' saxophones and bass clarinet to coexist with the forthright bopping of Eric Dolphy? Does the quietly mournful music of this ensemble (albeit a quartet) sit where the strident holy rolling of bassist Charles Mingus once sat? Strange but true. The music of Cloning Americana is charged with quiet protest. It is music that questions before the stammering of machinegun protest. The ensemble presents its unique protest music in a singularly harmonic, tonal manner. The cheers in "The Change-Up" nestle cheek by jowl with the madness of "Poster Boy." Yet "Comic Relief" stands in sharp contrast to "For Which It Stands." All of this, however, is meant to protest the declining values of America.

Cloning Americana presents the other side to stridency: calm. The turmoil in the soul is also manifest in the taut energy of Versace's dazzling runs on the piano. Lee's occasionally mournful bass speaks volumes for the white hot fever with which he rips through "Just Running Around." Only Hirshfield's rattling of the tom-toms and his tumultuous clashes with the cymbals show how taut the music really is. It pirouettes on the end of the ultimate stretch of the elastic and it could snap at any time, but is held together by the poise and grace of a band that is determined to sing protest and anger and grief through harmonic engagement, quietude and the joy of the true ideals of a socially just America.


Track Listing: The Lament; Don’t Put Your “Hoe-Down”; The Change-Up; Old Dirt; Poster Boy; Our Pastime, Passed Down; The Road That Leads To; On The Rise; Of Two Minds; Comic Relief; Wetlands; Just Running Around; For Whish It Stands.

Personnel: Billy Drewes: saxophones, bass clarinet and vocal; Scott Lee: bass; Gary Versace: piano; Jeff Hirshfield: drums.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop


Warning: mysql_fetch_object(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in /home/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php on line 39

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 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 "Whisper" CD/LP/Track Review Whisper
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 22, 2016
Read "Naija Rhythm Affair, NYC" CD/LP/Track Review Naija Rhythm Affair, NYC
by James Nadal
Published: July 12, 2016
Read "Sélébéyone" CD/LP/Track Review Sélébéyone
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 7, 2016
Read "Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival
by John Sharpe
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Disappearing Day" CD/LP/Track Review Disappearing Day
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 9, 2016
Read "The Unquiet Sky" CD/LP/Track Review The Unquiet Sky
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 1, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!