174

Natto Quartet: Headlands

Frank Rubolino By

Sign in to view read count
Natto Quartet: Headlands Sounds of the mystical Orient and the more assertive Western world clash head-on when the Natto Quartet ignites. Philip Gelb, an extremely versatile and resourceful shakuhachi player, and Shoko Hikage, an astute proponent of the ancient koto, contribute the Eastern sensibilities that flow well beyond the cultural borders of their instruments’ roots. On the Western front, pianist Chris Brown and electronics specialist Tim Perkis provide the 21st century impetus to sustain the transformation. Together, the California-based quartet becomes an exploratory team intent on establishing a new world order where improvised creativity is the sole determinant of beauty, even if that beauty is in its earthiest form.

Each artist plays a distinctive role in forming this free collective. Gelb’s shakuhachi arsenal consists of instruments of varying lengths that alter the pitch and cover a wide tonal range. He shows absolute dominance over the difficult reeds. Gelb has taken the shakuhachi out of the meditative field and has plunked it squarely into the improvising arena, where his originality is continually on display. Brown takes a fully unstructured approach to his reconnaissance mission. His approach from inside and outside the piano combines aggressiveness with thought-provoking development of logical freeform sequences. Brown’s playing erupts with physicality, although his forcefulness is always under control and able to be abated at will.

Tim Perkis is a wizard on the electronic controls. He bends and twists tonal centers while always maintaining a musical stance devoid of sheer noise or static elements. This inventiveness in sound production makes him an exceptional contributor to this group. Hikage blends spirits of the past into this strongly flavored brew. Her blunt, interruptive statements reverberate and rebound against the reams of chilling improvisations encircling her. She straddles dual cultures with aplomb and makes her instrument sing out emphatically.

While collective interaction is at the heart of the music, the performers also spin off in engaging partnerships, which in turn inspire spontaneous contributions from the others. For example, Gelb spars gingerly with Hikage, encouraging Perkis to enter wrapping electronic impulses around the stark but strangely soothing output. Brown listens intently and interjects jabbing comments for emphasis. And so it goes throughout the recording, with each dual encounter leading to profound group interpretation. Instruments that are centuries apart in origin and light years apart in concept find a common ground for promoting unity. The Natto Quartet effectively marries these divergent influences, producing music for our time.

Visit www.482music.com .

Track Listing: Miso (3:15) / Soba (4:22) / Yuba (6:49) / Nuka (6:57) / Kukicha (10:07) / Sake (6:24) / Mochi (9:14).

Personnel: Philip Gelb-shakuhachi; Shoko Hikage-koto; Tim Perkis-electronics; Chris Brown-piano. Recorded: August 12, 2002, Sausalito, CA.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: 482 Music | Style: Modern Jazz


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read The Big Wig CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert CD/LP/Track Review Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Failure of Words CD/LP/Track Review The Failure of Words
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Nakedonia" CD/LP/Track Review Nakedonia
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 25, 2016
Read "Out Of The Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Out Of The Blue
by Tyran Grillo
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Dobbeltgaeenger" CD/LP/Track Review Dobbeltgaeenger
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 12, 2016
Read "Rising Grace" CD/LP/Track Review Rising Grace
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Live in 1967 Volume Two" CD/LP/Track Review Live in 1967 Volume Two
by Doug Collette
Published: May 28, 2016
Read "3's a Crowd" CD/LP/Track Review 3's a Crowd
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 21, 2017

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!