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...

546

The Jeff Gauthier Goatette: House of Return

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Los Angeles based violinist Jeff Gauthier's fifth recording as a leader, House of Return is the third album to feature the capable talents of his self-coined Goatette. A veteran quintet of stellar West Coast improvisers, Gauthier and company work from a varied palette to explore a mix of sound worlds, ranging from thorny progressive fusion and unfettered psychedelia to folksy introspection and lush ballads.

As founder and producer of the adventurous Cryptogramophone label and co-founder of the influential acoustic group Quartet Music in 1979 (with guitarist Nels Cline, bassist Eric Von Essen and drummer Alex Cline), Gauthier's seminal role in the development of progressive West Coast jazz is implicit.

The aforementioned Cline brothers, along with longstanding collaborators, keyboardist Dave Witham and bassist Joe Hamilton, comprise the Goatette. Following a similar pattern to previous releases, Gauthier augments his own originals with pieces written by the Cline brothers and works from the late Von Essen, opening and closing the album with tunes culled from the bassist's deep back catalog.

Melodious and assured, House of Return is Gauthier's most accessible record to date. The session favors acoustic instrumentation with subtle real-time electronic effects that thicken the band's sound without becoming obtrusive. Harmonious and evocative, the luxuriant Von Essen ballads "Biko's Blues" and "Dissolution" inspire some of the Goatette's most sublime work. Nels Cline's languorous meditation "I.O.A." and Alex Cline's shimmering tone poem "Dizang" offer ethereal serenity delivered with knowing restraint.

The leader's titular centerpiece, which evolves through numerous changes in mood and dynamics, reveals his classical training. A spare electronic conversation between Gauthier and Nels precedes a knotty theme that yields a swinging piano trio feature in a buoyant 7/4 rhythm. A sequence of concise statements from the remainder of the ensemble ensues, including a plangent solo from the leader that briefly veers into outside territory.

The session's melodic focus doesn't forsake the quintet's power however. "Friends of the Animals," and "Satellites and Sideburns" are episodic electro-acoustic workouts that recall the seminal recordings of Weather Report and Lifetime with their angular ornate riffs and violent asymmetrical rhythms. Nels Cline's caustic fret-board shredding and the leader's clarion cadences coalesce with Witham's hazy analog keyboard work in a kaleidoscopic vortex as Alex Cline and Joe Hamilton navigate shifting meters and pulverizing downbeats.

A superlative group effort that displays their empathy for structure and form, as well as their capacity for freewheeling creative expression, House of Return is a gorgeous document from an underexposed West Coast ensemble that deserves wider acclaim.


Track Listing: Biko's Blues; Friends of the Animals; I.O.A.; House of Return; Dizang; Satellites and Sideburns; Dissolution.

Personnel: Jeff Gauthier: violin, electric violin, effects, percussion; Nels Cline: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, effects, percussion; David Witham: piano, keyboards, effects; Joel Hamilton: bass; Alex Cline: drums, percussion.

Title: House of Return | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Cryptogramophone

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
 

Open Source

Cryptogramophone
2012

buy
Open Source

Open Source

Cryptogramophone
2011

buy
 

Continuation

Cryptogramophone
2009

buy
House of Return

House of Return

Cryptogramophone
2008

buy
 

One And The Same

Cryptogramophone
2007

buy
One and the Same

One and the Same

Cryptogramophone
2006

buy

Related Articles

Read with whom you can be who you are CD/LP/Track Review
with whom you can be who you are
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Inner Core CD/LP/Track Review
Inner Core
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Dirigo Rataplan II CD/LP/Track Review
Dirigo Rataplan II
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 21, 2018
Read The Window CD/LP/Track Review
The Window
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 21, 2018
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 "Atwood Suites" CD/LP/Track Review Atwood Suites
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 16, 2018
Read "A New Shade Of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review A New Shade Of Blue
by Chris May
Published: August 21, 2018
Read "Shifting Standards" CD/LP/Track Review Shifting Standards
by Paul Rauch
Published: May 14, 2018
Read "Spiritual Impressions" CD/LP/Track Review Spiritual Impressions
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 16, 2018
Read "Distant Early Warning" CD/LP/Track Review Distant Early Warning
by Gareth Thompson
Published: April 3, 2018
Read "The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow" CD/LP/Track Review The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow
by John Sharpe
Published: January 23, 2018