Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

1

New Focus: New Focus On Song

Roger Farbey By

Sign in to view read count
The follow-up to Konrad Wiszniewski and Euan Stevenson's 2012 eponymous debut album is an idiosyncratic amalgam of folk, jazz and classical music. The opening number "Air In D Minor," which subtly fades in at the start and fades out at the close, sounds like nothing so much as a cinematic theme tune, crucially embellished by the Glasgow String Quartet. "Green Park" is similarly soundtrack-ready with a relaxed tenor saxophone solo from Konrad Wiszniewski played over the string quartet.

But often when the strings are omitted there's a limpid quality defined by Euan Stevenson's chordal-rich piano parts, as on "Destination Unknown" with Wiszniewski's lustrous tenor sounding almost Michael Brecker-ish.

It's difficult to pinpoint any one particular style or sound; on "Sophia's Song" for example, the wistful strains of Wiszniewski's low D whistle evince a passing resemblance to the music of Celtic harpist Alan Stivell who brought a gentle fusion of folk and rock to a wider audience. "Little Allegory" is a particularly strong piece infused with a fast and funky string arrangement and unequivocal rhythmic backing.

The archetypical chamber music of "Braeside" has an almost Vaughan Williams quality to it, but eventually cedes to a jazz sensibility with plangent soprano and piano solos. But other numbers such as "Corea Change" employ the strings to top and tail an acid-edged theme, swiftly breaking down into a boppy quartet-driven middle section. Likewise "Fourths Ostinato" is another lively and engaging jazzy track. "Ascension" by contrast is a more lugubrious affair, whilst the charming "Flora" and Stevenson's solo rendition of "Epilogue" are tranquil and affecting ballads.

The mixture of influences presented here may be discombobulating to some ears. The styles can change rapidly in a single composition but more often than not they merge seamlessly with one another and usually, but not always, the arrangements with the strings on eight of the thirteen pieces, work extremely well. An album of clever, original music, On Song clearly demonstrates how the received boundaries between different musical genres are arbitrary or artificial at best.

Track Listing: Air in D Minor; Green Park; Destination Unknown; Sophia's Song; Little Allegory; Braeside; Corea Change; Ascension; Piano Interlude; Fourths Ostinato; Ascension (Reprise); Flora; Epilogue.

Personnel: Konrad Wiszniewski: tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet, low D whistle; Euan Stevenson: piano; Andrew Robb: double bass (except tracks 9 & 13); Alyn Cosker: drums, percussion (except tracks 9 & 13); Nicola Wiszniewski: flute (tracks 1-2, 6, 8, 10-11); Alina Bzhezhinska: harp (tracks 1-2, 6, 8 & 11); The Glasgow String Quartet: William Chandler, Lorna Rough : violin; Ian Budd: viola; Betsy Taylor: cello (tracks 1-2, 5-8, 10-11).

Title: New Focus On Song | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Whirlwind Recordings Ltd

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Trip" CD/LP/Track Review Trip
by James Nadal
Published: August 1, 2017
Read "On A Monday Evening" CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Playing the 60s" CD/LP/Track Review Playing the 60s
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 19, 2017
Read "Due North" CD/LP/Track Review Due North
by Doug Collette
Published: October 29, 2017
Read "Live" CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 14, 2017
Read "Disconnected" CD/LP/Track Review Disconnected
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 3, 2017