All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

1

Peter Madsen: Never Bet The Devil Your Head

Chris Mosey By

Sign in to view read count
Close study of the only existing daguerréotype of American author Edgar Allan Poe (1809—1849) reveals that he bore an extraordinary resemblance to British comedian John Cleese on a bad hair day. Could this be why, despite his many accomplishments, the modern world has trouble taking Poe seriously?

Jazz pianist/composer Peter Madsen has no such problems. With this album he revisits a lifelong fascination with Poe and his gothic horror stories.

Madsen explains, "Before composing each piece, I read a Poe story or poem and then tried to capture the feelings and ideas in the music. The music that came out was a combination of modern jazz and classical sounds and concepts, full of odd meters and very difficult lines, as well as improvised sections."

The songs are, he says, "Deeply emotional and sometimes scary." Even today it would be unwise to underestimate the power of Poe.

The album opens with Madsen's interpretation of the author's best known poem, "The Raven," which has, he says, "A creepy, late night feel." A student grieving for a dead love is visited by a raven who keeps repeating the phrase "Nevermore."

In "A Dream Within A Dream," the protagonist stands on a beach watching grains of sand slip through his fingers, wishing he could hold on to them.

"The Tell-Tale Heart" describes a murder and dismemberment in which the killer is haunted by the sound of the beating of his victim's heart.

"Never Bet The Devil Your Head," the title track, is the story of a man called Dammit who bets the devil he can leap over a turnstyle. When he attempts to do so, his head is cut off by a sharp iron bar he'd failed to notice.

Psychology has shed much light on such gruesome stories. At the time they were written they must have scared Poe's readers silly.

They still have a relevance today. Without Poe's pioneering work, what chance Ridley Scott's first Alien movie? Or the award-winning South Korean zombie thriller Train To Busan?

Madsen's lilting, melancholic but always coherent compositions give Poe's works an aural setting they have long merited.

Track Listing: The Raven; A Dream Within A Dream; The Tell-Tale Heart; The Cask Of Amontillado; The Sphinx; Never Bet The Devil Your Head; The Fall Of The House Of Usher; Mesmeric Revelation; The Masque Of The Red Death; A Descent Into The Maelström.

Personnel: Peter Madsen: piano; Herbert Walser: trumpet; Aleksandra Lartseva, Monica Tarcsay: violin; Simon Frick: viola; Bianca Riesner: cello; Herwig Hammerl: bass; Martin Grabher: drums.

Title: Never Bet The Devil Your Head | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Playscape Recordings

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read Super Mood CD/LP/Track Review
Super Mood
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2018
Read Beheaded Totem CD/LP/Track Review
Beheaded Totem
by James Fleming
Published: September 24, 2018
Read New Hope CD/LP/Track Review
New Hope
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 23, 2018
Read The Nobuki Takamen Trio CD/LP/Track Review
The Nobuki Takamen Trio
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2018
Read "In The Green Castle" CD/LP/Track Review In The Green Castle
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 6, 2017
Read "Phenobarbital Sessions" CD/LP/Track Review Phenobarbital Sessions
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 2, 2018
Read "Wes Montgomery In Paris" CD/LP/Track Review Wes Montgomery In Paris
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: January 24, 2018
Read "West Side Story Reimagined" CD/LP/Track Review West Side Story Reimagined
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 29, 2018
Read "At This Time: Duets" CD/LP/Track Review At This Time: Duets
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 6, 2017
Read "9" CD/LP/Track Review 9
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 19, 2018