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Cellist Ivan Hussey's career has included membership in the Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra and a long list of sessions with acts such as Duran Duran, Mick Jagger and Soul II Soul. He makes his instrument of choice plain enough in his alter ego as Celloman but for Moods, Broods and Interludes he's content to perform as plain old Ivan Hussey, letting the sound of his instrument speak for itself. From the get-gosolo, or in duets, trios or quartetsthat sound comes across loud and clear on this collection of beautiful and uplifting original compositions.
While the instrumental lineup and many of the song titles hint strongly at West European classical music as the style of choice, Hussey's influences are more wide-ranging and his writing more varied. There are certainly tunes on Moods, Broods and Interludes that can trace their ancestry back to a classical sourcemost notably the four "Interludes," each in a different key and performed as cello quartets. There are also tunes with Indian ("Veena," which is also suggestive of the traditional Irish tune "She Moves Through The Fair"), Flamenco ("Scenes Of You") and even progressive rock influences ("The Way It Was" has a vibe reminiscent of Curved Air's subtler moments).
On seven of the tracks Hussey plays in a style he's named cello arpezzato. The term combines arpeggio and pizzicato to describe a way of playing without a bow, utilizing techniques more usually found in jazz, rock or blues guitar playing such as hammering-on and slapping. The sound comes across like a combination of acoustic finger-style guitar and pizzicato double bass, and Hussey uses it to excellent effect. On "Kaleidoscope," his tight, hard-edged, triplet rhythm underpins and contrasts with Samy Bishai's gorgeous violin melody; for "Georgetown," he switches to a bouncy, playful, rhythm as violinists Bishai and Stephen Hussey and violist Vincent Greene harmonize joyously.
Hussey claims, in his sleeve notes, that "Dream In G," another arpezzato duet with Bishai, is "the most 'jazzy' piece on the disc." Such a description is almost certainly open to discussion but the genuinely dreamlike and contemplative tune is so graceful that jazz should be happy to claim it as one of its own.
While horns, pianos and drum kits might be viewed as cornerstones of jazz performance, the cello certainly has its role to play. Moods, Broods and Interludes is a fine reminder of the emotional power of the cello.
Track Listing: Veena; Kaleidoscope; Interlude In G Minor; The Way It Was; Mio My Mio; Interlude in C
Minor; Dream In G; Andante In G Minor; Trio In D; Interlude In D Minor; The
Changeling; Georgetown; Prelude To Kandahar; Scenes Of You; Interlude In G Major.
Personnel: Ivan Hussey: cello; Samy Bishai: violin (1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 12, 14); Stephen Hussey: violin (9,
12); Vincent Greene: viola (1, 4, 12); Ian Burdge: cello (3, 6, 10, 15); Chris Worsey:
cello (3, 6, 10, 15); Tony Woollard: cello (3, 6, 10, 15).
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.