Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

443

Marc Ribot: Exercises in Futility & Technicolor

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count








Marc Ribot Exercises in Futility
Tzadik
2008


Giovanni Maier
Technicolor
Longsong Records
2007




A humble line might be drawn from Bach's Das Wohltemperirte Clavier through John Zorn's The Book of Heads to Marc Ribot's Exercises in Futility. All are essentially sets of exercises meant to highlight certain techniques. And while several players have tackled Zorn's knotty Book of Heads, Ribot is probably the most known, having recorded it for Tzadik. (The work was written for Eugene Chadbourne, who has since recorded it for the label, but it remains unreleased.)

The Well-Tempered Klavier was written as an instruction book for learning the piano, with the pieces getting progressively harder. Zorn's Book is less forgiving, starting at levels darn near impossible. And Ribot's Exercises in Futility methodically unfolds to unpack his own idiosyncratic playing. Over the course of 14 brief tracks (with an added 10-minute solo piece at the end), Ribot puts his unusual virtuosity in a petri dish, muting strings, thwapping the guitar body and generally dissecting what it is that makes him so in demand. It's quite different from his manic recording of the Book of Heads, though, working at the same time as a pleasant recital, rather than the enjoyably frantic Book of Heads.

While there's no guarantee that mastering the Exercises in Futility will put the aspiring guitarist in a position to air-drop into any situation with finesse and aplomb, Italian bassist Giovanni Maier's Technicolor is a good indication of Ribot's ability to do just that. Whether playing with Zorn, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Marianne Faithfull or Henry Grimes, he is immediately distinctive, always fitting his voice into the new context. With Maier's electric quartet, Ribot shows how to weave searing rock leads and bits of skronk into an instrumental prog setting. The two-disc set (Ribot only appears on the first) tends toward the display of speed and precision that proggers love, falling somewhere between the King Crimson and Frank Zappa camps and shows nice variations in composition. Maier isn't afraid of using some ambient noise and the band is spot on, with Ribot often dissolving into the mix and rising up again.

Alongside his own work, Ribot has made himself into the rare session player who can stand out in any crowd, hired to just be himself. By instruction and example, these discs show how he got there.


Tracks and Personnel

Exercises in Futility

etude #1: five gestures; etude #2: morton 1; etude #3: elvis; etude #4: bombasto; etude #5: lame; etude #6: cowboy; etude #7: ballad; etude #8: groove; etude #9: morton 2; etude # 10: min; etude #11: ascending; etude #12: mirror; etude #13: wank; etude #14: event on 10th avenue; joy in repetition.

Marc Ribot: guitar.

Technicolr

Segovia; El Matador; This is my Voice; L'inafferrabile Fascino Dell'incompletezza; Old File; Miss T.; Manarola Song; Villa Santina; Marc's Mark; Aeropagods; San Fiovanni; Grandi Speranze; Prometeus; Appreggi; One Long Song.

Giovanii Maier: bass; Zeno de Rossi: drums; Giorgio Pacorig: keyboards; Alfonso Santimone: keyboards; Marc Ribot: guitar.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Latest From Eva-Maria Houben On Edition Wandelweiser Multiple Reviews Latest From Eva-Maria Houben On Edition Wandelweiser
by John Eyles
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Rock Candy: Montrose (eponymous) & Paper Money Multiple Reviews Rock Candy: Montrose (eponymous) & Paper Money
by Doug Collette
Published: December 29, 2017
Read Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition & Rez Abbasi’s Invocation Multiple Reviews Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition & Rez...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 27, 2017
Read Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk & Najwa Multiple Reviews Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk & Najwa
by Doug Collette
Published: December 23, 2017
Read The Original Delaney & Bonnie (Accept No Substitute) and To Bonnie From Delaney Multiple Reviews The Original Delaney & Bonnie (Accept No Substitute)...
by Doug Collette
Published: December 23, 2017
Read Van Morrison: Roll With The Punches & Versatile Multiple Reviews Van Morrison: Roll With The Punches & Versatile
by Doug Collette
Published: December 17, 2017
Read "A Sense of Place" Multiple Reviews A Sense of Place
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights" Multiple Reviews 440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "The Art (de Vivre) of the Trio" Multiple Reviews The Art (de Vivre) of the Trio
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 12, 2017
Read "Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago" Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Roots In The Green Mountains" Multiple Reviews Roots In The Green Mountains
by Doug Collette
Published: July 29, 2017