214

Positive Catastrophe: Garabatos Volume One

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
Positive Catastrophe: Garabatos Volume One There has always been a strong case to tear down the walls that divide music in the past two hundred years—especially in the 21st century. The best case for this phenomenon has always come from forward-thinking musicians themselves. One of the best examples of this comes in the form of Positive Catastrophe, a little big band co-led by cornetist/flugelhornist Taylor Ho Bynum and percussionist/vocalist Abraham Gomez-Delgado on the appropriately titled debut, Garabatos Volume One.

The record appears to be a series of loosely connected pieces—sketches or doodles, as the word "garabatos" suggests. The music is mostly tonal in nature and, because of its rather short length, might easily be categorized as incidental. "Travels Parts 1 & 2" and "Travels Parts 3 & 4" break the mold, and Jen Shyu stream of consciousness vocals skitter and glide across the melody very beautifully as the music courses with Charles Mingus-like bravado. The contrapuntal horns add especially memorable tone and color.

Although this is a deliberate ensemble effort, some soloists do give spectacular accounts of themselves. Jen Shyu may play the stringed "erhu," but when she vocalizes it is as if she were singing with the bell-like clarity of a burnished trumpet. Reut Regev brings folksy growls and smears to the set with her singular voice on the trombone, especially on "Contenido Adentro." Her words and singing on "Stillness/Life" are positively seductive—as alluring, in fact, as the ballad is enduring. Michael Attias gritty baritone voice is always in commanding character throughout. He is the pulse of "Metro Mono," but he does catch a bit of doodle-room every once in awhile, stretching in a grand manner on "Stillness/Life."

Bynum and Gomez-Delgado are credited with much of the record's compositional duties, including the lyrics on most of the vocal tracks. Neither musician solos much, though Bynum does have a fabulous break on "Revamped," as does Gomez-Delgado on "Travels Parts 3 & 4," but then this polyphonic music is written to showcase the ensemble rather than spotlight individual voices. A myriad of shades and colors results, making the musical experience all the more enticing.

Positive Catastrophe is by no means the first band to create what may well come to be this polyglot/Esperanto idiom of music. Some of the comparatively shorter work composed by Mingus in the very early fifties was similarly ahead of its time, and his Epitaph (Sony, 1990) will forever remain one of the foremost genre-defying, symphonic heraldic works of this contemporary era in music. However, much praise is due to Positive Catastrophe for pulling off Garabatos Volume One, which will remain in the memory for some time to come, and for all the right reasons.


Track Listing: Plena Organization; Travels Parts 1&2; Metro Mono; Plena Seguiro; Stillness/Life; Post Chordal; Plena Quicksand Monument; Revamped; Travels Parts 3&4; Contenido Adentro.

Personnel: Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet, flugelhorn, co-leader; Abraham Gomez-Delgado: percussion, voice, co-leader; Jen Shyu: voice, erhu; Mark Taylor: French horn, mellophone; Reut Regev: trombone, flugelbone; Matt Bauder: tenor and alto saxophones, clarinet; Michael Attias: baritone saxophone; Pete Fitzpatrick: electric guitar; Alvaro Benavides: electric bass (1-4, 6, 7, 9, 10); Keith Witty: acoustic bass (5, 8, 9); Tomas Fujiwara: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records | Style: Latin/World


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Vitamina D" CD/LP/Track Review Vitamina D
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny" CD/LP/Track Review Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 13, 2016
Read "In Movement" CD/LP/Track Review In Movement
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 4, 2016
Read "Kjølvatn" CD/LP/Track Review Kjølvatn
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 29, 2016
Read "Young" CD/LP/Track Review Young
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 4, 2016
Read "Post Cool: Vol 1 The Night Shift" CD/LP/Track Review Post Cool: Vol 1 The Night Shift
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 15, 2017

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!