172

Thomson Kneeland: Mazurka for the Modern Man

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
Thomson Kneeland: Mazurka for the Modern Man It is unfortunate when a person dies prematurely, and even more so when the death is by suicide. It makes for a bittersweet experience when listening to Mazurka for a Modern Man, by acoustic bassist Thomson Kneeland. Drummer Take Toriyama had been working with Kneeland almost weekly for ten years. He ended his life two weeks after recording the songs on this release. For Kneeland, the tragedy was immeasurable.

The core group on the recording consists of Kneeland, Toriyama, guitarist Nate Radley and trumpeter David Smith. Alto saxophonist Loren Stillman appears on selected tracks, and a few other guests accompany Kneeland on "Moja Tesknota (for Deborah Zelazny)." "Ashlayah" begins with Smith and Stillman blending for a lively lead. Radley's rhythm guitar adds a nice touch to the melody, but only briefly, as the horns step back in favor of a guitar solo. The tone of Radley's guitar here is similar to that of Pat Metheny. After Stillman's solo, Toriyama stretches out on the kit, initially accompanied by Radley and later going it alone.

Smith opens the title song before giving way to Radley. The piece is divided into four sections, with Smith and Radley alternating leads. Smith's sections are tranquil, whereas Radley's are intense; despite the contrast, the parts complement each other well. Kneeland is effective, but serves mostly as a sideman, even though he composed eight of the nine tracks. Over the course of his career, he has worked in jazz and other classic genres, associating with such artists as Chris Potter and Kenny Werner, and performed in such venues as The Kennedy Center, the Toronto Jazz Festival and the Perth Jazz Festival.

Mazurka for a Modern Man comes together as a fine mix of contrasting melodies and improvisation. Kneeland says it does not represent Toriyama's best work. Yet, considering the strength of the drummer's performance, his passing is a considerable loss to the world of music.


Track Listing: Ashlayah; Hyperion; Mazurka for a Modern Man; Dithryamb; Moja Tesknota (for Deborah Zelazny); Libretto; Nebuchadnezzar; Rhapsody (for Take Toriyama); Crus Bifurcatus.

Personnel: Thomson Kneeland: acoustic bass; Take Toriyama: drums, percussion; Nate Radley: guitar; David Smith: trumpet; Loren Stillman: saxophone (1, 4, 6, 9); Jerry Sabatini: trumpet (5); Evan Harlan: accordion (5); Eric Bindman: violin (5); Mike Connors: drums (5).

Title: Mazurka for the Modern Man | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Weltschmerz Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Presidential Suite (Eight Variations on Freedom)" CD/LP/Track Review Presidential Suite (Eight Variations on Freedom)
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 25, 2016
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 27, 2016
Read "Still" CD/LP/Track Review Still
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "George DeLancey" CD/LP/Track Review George DeLancey
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play...
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "New Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review New Helsinki
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 8, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.