165

Tom Christensen: New York School

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Tom Christensen: New York School Modern jazz sometimes seems a bit schizophrenic, caught between the extremes of intellectual abstraction and spiritual seeking, and the more ambitious sort often fails because it can't find intuitive connections between the two. Horn multi-instrumentalist Tom Christensen's third release in six years is a pleasure from start to finish because it manages to simultaneously embrace thought and emotion, interweaving the two in constantly evolving, often unpredictable ways. Christensen is joined by percussionist Satoshi Takeishi, a veteran of his two previous quartet records, plus multi-reedist Walt Weiskopf and bassist Kermit Driscoll.

Christensen's seven compositions on New York School were inspired by painting and poetry from the '50s and '60s artistic movement of the same name, with special emphasis on improvisational poet Frank O'Hara. The liner notes leave out the actual source material, but it's really unnecessary to appreciate the music, which offers an extremely wide spectrum of instrumental color—especially on the front line, which is regularly intertwined during ensemble play.

All four musicians pay careful attention to dynamics and tone, crafting phrases as much based on shape as flow. The material spans from the energy-rich strains of "Guardians" (see the Pollock painting here) to the baroque lament of "Your Strange Son" and the relaxed, sunny stroll of "Asleep and Sleeping with Them." The lines often blur between composition and improvisation, but there's no stiffness anywhere, and it's definitely a group effort.

Some of the starkest and most penetrating moments come through on "In Memory of My Feelings," which pairs bass clarinets and soprano saxophone with deep, ringing, ritualistic percussion, communicating a sense of melancholy loss matched with a seemingly paradoxical feeling of rebirth.

One of the best records of 2005.

Track Listing: Guardians; Further Digressions; In Memory of My Feelings; Asleep and Sleeping with Them; Your Strange Son; Oranges; Little Elegy. All music composed by Tom Christensen.

Personnel: Tom Christensen: tenor & soprano sax, oboe, english horn, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto flute, wood flute; Walt Weiskopf: tenor & soprano sax, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet; Kermit Driscoll: bass; Satoshi Takeishi: percussion.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Playscape Recordings | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Pathways CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Landing CD/LP/Track Review Landing
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Words And Music CD/LP/Track Review Words And Music
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Faces CD/LP/Track Review Faces
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves CD/LP/Track Review Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves
by Duncan Heining
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Alba" CD/LP/Track Review Alba
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 7, 2016
Read "Les Indignés" CD/LP/Track Review Les Indignés
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 3, 2016
Read "Trio Miami" CD/LP/Track Review Trio Miami
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 8, 2016
Read "The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark" CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Say So" CD/LP/Track Review Say So
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 14, 2016
Read "Fugitive Beauté" CD/LP/Track Review Fugitive Beauté
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 11, 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!