173

Taylor Ho Bynum & Spidermonkey Strings: Madeleine Dreams

Ivana Ng By

Sign in to view read count
Taylor Ho Bynum & Spidermonkey Strings: Madeleine Dreams Madeleine Dreams is about as odd as the novel upon which it is based. Taylor Ho Bynum and SpiderMonkey Strings weave deftly through the magical realism of Madeleine is Sleeping, a novel written by Bynum's sister Sarah Shun-lien Bynum.

Vocalist Kyoko Kitamura flows through the divide between dream and reality with grace. She narrates the first seven tracks, the lyrics of which are excerpts from the story, with a smoky alto that at turns belongs to a children's storyteller, slam poet or blues singer. The yawning quality of her voice and wide emotive range makes "Le Petomane," the story of a tall, flatulent man, charming and eerie and turns "Objects Lost On Journeys," a surrealist tale of missing suitcases and glasses, into an enchanting elegy.

The instrumentation is very effective in laying down a soundtrack to the book excerpts. In "Lesson," trembling, crooning violin (Jason Kao Hwang), a rumbling and weeping cello (Tomas Ulrich) and a sweet, plucking viola (Mary Halvorson/Jessica Pavone Duo) narrate the brief but lovely number. A creeping tuba (Joseph Daley) and spluttering cornet (Bynum) treads softly into the next track, "Metamorphosis," as the strings section whistles in the wind, as if Madeleine were suddenly left alone in what has become a nightmare.

The last three tracks are arrangements of an Ornette Coleman tune, a Duke Ellington standard and a Marshall Allen/Ronnie Boykins/Sun Ra space melody, respectively. In Coleman's "What Reason Could I Give," drummer Luther Gray gets to stretch as Bynum flutters through on muted cornet. Kitamura delves into the avant-garde by manipulated moans, groans, sighs and scatting as if her voice were just another member of the strings ensemble.

Bynum's arrangement of Ellington's "The Mooche" starts out as a lethargic duet between tuba and Kitamura's moaning, buzzing voice and then the strings finally jump in and the tune begins to sound like the familiar jazz standard. Pete Fitzpatrick's guitar is an unexpected but pleasant addition.

The CD wavers between fantasy and reality with nimble fingers and a flair for storytelling. It seems that Bynum, like his sister, has a knack for it as well.


Track Listing: hush; le petomane; lesson; metamorphosis; objects lost on journeys; hush (reprise); What Reason Could I Give; The Mooche; Angels and Demons at Play.

Personnel: Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet, flugelhorn; Kyoko Kitamura: voice; Jason Kao Hwang: violin; Jessica Pavone: viola; Tomas Ulrich: cello; Pete Fitzpatrick: guitar; Joseph Daley: tuba; Luther Gray: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Firehouse 12 Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

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 The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Sanctuary" CD/LP/Track Review Sanctuary
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 22, 2016
Read "The Way You Look Tonight" CD/LP/Track Review The Way You Look Tonight
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 10, 2016
Read "Flawless Dust" CD/LP/Track Review Flawless Dust
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 20, 2016
Read "My Foolish Heart" CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 3, 2017
Read "Super Petite" CD/LP/Track Review Super Petite
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 17, 2016
Read "Crowded Solitudes" CD/LP/Track Review Crowded Solitudes
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 6, 2016

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!