138

Lou Grassi, Tom Varner, Ron Horton, Tomas Ulrich: Neo Neo

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
Neo Neo is a collaborative project conceived by drummer Lou Grassi, with Tom Varner on French horn, Ron Horton on trumpet, and Tomas Ulrich on cello. The recording is extremely dry and acoustic in texture, with an unusually quiet recording level — all in keeping with the philosophy of Creative Improvised Music Projects, a label that insists on bringing us as realistic a reproduction of the live performances as possible. The overall feel of this quartet is not at all unlike that of a classical chamber ensemble, albeit an especially modern and adventurous one. Varner’s French horn and Ulrich’s cello take the session far afield of typical jazz instrumentation, contrasting vividly with Horton’s sharp-toned trumpet and Grassi’s free-jazz drumming.

The music is often busy and intense, but there is plenty of variety to keep the listener guessing. Three of the pieces are from Horton’s 1999 Omnitone release Genius Envy. Varner contributes six of the fifteen compositions, including the marvelously spare "Space Ballad" and the ambitious "Meditation Sketch." The three-part suite "Lopey" begins with a playful duet between Horton and Varner, then adds Ulrich for the second movement before culminating in a full-ensemble finale that almost evokes an off-kilter New Orleans band. Ulrich’s "Louless" is another trio piece; Grassi’s absence creates space for new and unexpected textures to emerge.

These performances, together with producer Robert Rusch’s lively and detailed session notes and CIMP’s scrupulous recording standards, make Neo Neo a pleasure, as well as a worthy entry in the discographies of each of the four players involved.


Track Listing:

1. Carla Blake 2. Hemoglobin 3. For Thomas Chapin 4. Genius Envy 5. Neo Neo 6. Mini for Tomas 7. Spit It Out 8. Northern Lights 9. Space Ballad 10. Meditation Sketch 11. Louless 12. Lopey Pt. 1 13. Lopey Pt. 2 14. Lopey Pt. 3 15. Unbearable Being of Lightness

Personnel: Lou Grassi, drums; Tom Varner, French horn; Ron Horton, trumpet; Tomas Ulrich, cello

| Record Label: Creative Improvised Music Proj | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Further Explorations" CD/LP/Track Review Further Explorations
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 23, 2016
Read "Alchemist" CD/LP/Track Review Alchemist
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 1, 2017
Read "Once & Future" CD/LP/Track Review Once & Future
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 10, 2016
Read "Ida Lupino" CD/LP/Track Review Ida Lupino
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 15, 2016
Read "Father Figure" CD/LP/Track Review Father Figure
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 3, 2016
Read "This Could Be That" CD/LP/Track Review This Could Be That
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!