377

Michael Moore: Floater & White Widow

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count
Jewels and Binoculars
Floater
Ramboy
2004 (2000)

With a reputation as a brilliant songwriter who can't sing, Bob Dylan is no doubt up there with Cole Porter and the Gershwin brothers as the most oft interpreted pop bards of the 20th century. The Byrds and Joan Baez owe their careers to him and scores of others do just for his opening the '60s folk movement to a mass audience.

But what's considered important about Dylan (and American folk music in general) is the lyrics. He's a provocative poet and his decades of musical exploration—from early Woody Guthrie inspiration to the incorporation of rock, soul and gospel influences—would seem to be incidental. Which is why reedman Michael Moore's repertory band is so unusual in the decades of Dylan coattail-riding.

American ex-pat Moore is a longtime member and key voice in Misha Mengelberg's ICP Orchestra. He has also released a half-dozen-plus discs of his own projects on his Ramboy label and several for other labels (including the excellent Monitor on Between the Lines). His first recording with Jewels & Binoculars (issued in 2000 and recently reissued on Ramboy) was an unexpected interpretation of Dylan songs: a reed trio (with bassist Lindsey Horner and drummer Michael Vachter) slowly circling the simple melodies. The second release doesn't add anything to the formula, but it doesn't need to, either. One could easily imagine a rollicking "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" or a slowly burning "Gotta Serve Somebody," but Moore tends toward the ballads, often lesser-known tracks. The melodies are spare and so sneak up.

White Widow
White Widow
Ramboy
2001

Despite the source, Floater is essentially a jazz record, if not so overtly as the first record by Moore's White Widow quartet. The group (with pianist Alex Maguire, bassist Mark Helias and ICP drummer Han Bennink) plays sweetly and deeply in the tradition, Bennink's unmistakable brushwork setting an easy pace throughout. While only one of the ten tracks is actually a standard (Gershwin's "I Loves You Porgy"), all of the pieces could be. They play with the lazy lyricism of an old Lester Young or Ben Webster side.

While the Monk-fueled mania of Bennink and Mengelberg has come to dominate the perceptions of Dutch jazz, they hardly typify the variety of projects coming out of Amsterdam. Jewels & Binoculars and White Widow are just two bands that draw from a love of American jazz, without the camp.


Floater

Tracks: 1. Masters of War (4:54); 2. Man in the Long Black Coat (8:14); 3. Farewell Angelina/What Can I Do For You? (7:01); 4. I Want You (3:29); 5. The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll (4:23); 6. All I Really Want To Do (7:03); 7. Things Have Changed (6:12); 8. Floater (Too Much to Ask) (5:24); 9. Tears of Rage (6:00); 10. Buckets of Rain (5:06); 11. Lay Down Your Weary Tune (2:10).
Personnel: Michael Moore:alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, melodica, bells; Lindsey Horner: bass; Michael Vatcher: percussion.

White Widow

Tracks: 1. Moffat (4:21); 2. Manuel's Party (7:09); 3. Coyote (4:18); 4. White Widow (7:00); 5. Aspatria (3:57); 6. Codiphile (6:05); 7. I Loves You, Porgy (7:07); 8. Leave Me Alone (5:28); 9. Peabody (8:55); 10. Parma Suite: Ham, Cheese, Parma Violets (12:14).
Personnel: Han Bennink: Drums; Mark Helias: Bass; Alex Maguire: Piano; Michael Moore: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Sax.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Guitars on Three Continents Multiple Reviews Guitars on Three Continents
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 16, 2017
Read Queen Esther: Sings Jazz & Black Americana Multiple Reviews Queen Esther: Sings Jazz & Black Americana
by James Nadal
Published: July 12, 2017
Read Blues Deluxe 2 Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe 2
by Doug Collette
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient Africa" and Oliver Lake and Joseph Bowie's "Live at A Space 1976" Multiple Reviews Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 2, 2017
Read "Steel Guitar, Snow and Sunny Beaches: Five New Albums on Losen Records" Multiple Reviews Steel Guitar, Snow and Sunny Beaches: Five New Albums on...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 7, 2016
Read "Blues Deluxe 2" Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe 2
by Doug Collette
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Another Timbre’s Canadian Composers Series" Multiple Reviews Another Timbre’s Canadian Composers Series
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Paul G. Smyth: Weekertoft downloads" Multiple Reviews Paul G. Smyth: Weekertoft downloads
by John Eyles
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Three New Releases from Peter Kuhn" Multiple Reviews Three New Releases from Peter Kuhn
by Dave Wayne
Published: August 4, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

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

Donate!