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One of the more promiscuous violinists on the scene today, Mark Feldman has always strived to combine the unusual with the familiar. He's come a long way from his roots as a Nashville studio musician, recording with country giants such as Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, to his more recent forays on the New York avant-improv scene with neo-giants like John Zorn and Tim Berne. Feldman's new record, Music for Piano and Violin, represents a logical progression from his 1995 Tzadik solo release Music for Violin Alone, though it's unfortunate he didn't find more clever names for these records.
On the new Avant release, pianist Sylvie Courvoisier joins Feldman in a series of refined duets. Performed with an attitude of sophistication, these composition-heavy duets betray influences from (and occasionally use direct references to) the European classical tradition, particularly French impressionism. Feldman's playing, crystalline but fluid, evokes an intimate chamber music aesthetic. Courvoisier covers the range from lush chordal progressions to punchy clusters to light prepared-piano tinkles, constantly evolving a florid sense of drama. While the balance of improvisation and composition on this record tilts more toward the latter than usual, it's quite a refreshing change.
Track Listing: Smoke; One Too; Too Romantisch Too; Too Speedy; La Goualante de l'Idiot; Kit; Les Tenebrides; Murmur; Luna
Park; Gugging; Dog Town Road; Valse Nise; Terre d'Agala.
Personnel: Mark Feldman: violin; Sylvie Courvoisier: piano.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...