129

Chris Kase: Nine Easy Pieces

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
In his detailed liner notes trumpeter Chris Kase attempts to shed some light on the technical considerations behind the compositions on his latest release, Nine Easy Pieces. And it is true that there is a lot of meat in his writing; but what really makes this album succeed is the easygoing manner in which all participants navigate music that, while complex and considered at its core, sounds deceptively simple.

Lester Young once said, "Can you sing me a song?" and clearly Kase can. He may not be the most distinctive player on the scene, but he has a warm and inviting tone on both trumpet and flugelhorn; his playing demonstrates a lyrical elegance that makes every solo, every motif eminently singable. Whether it be on the brooding "Dark Interval," improvising around a brief 6/4 piano-bass motif, or on the more compositionally rich "Numero tres," Kase creates melodies which linger in the memory.

And speaking of rich compositions, Kase is another example of a contemporary writer who explores more extended compositional form, avoiding the tune-solo-tune format and, instead, creating a broader framework which still allows the group ample opportunity to stretch out. Remarkably, the group's improvisations are so thoughtfully constructed that it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between the written and extemporized. Canadian ex-pat pianist John Stetch is in fine form, seamlessly combining a European impressionist bent with a touch of American swing. Guitarist Daniel Perez displays ample chops, with a style that is sometimes reminiscent of John Abercrombie, as on "Loose Canon," other times recalling early-period Bill Frisell on "Hesitation Tango," a piece which Kase craftily built from a Samuel Barber piece.

Bassist Johannes Weidenmueller and drummer Ari Hoenig bring a delicate sense of rhythmic interplay to the proceedings. On Kase's reharmonizing of Kurt Weill's "Speak Low," Hoenig demonstrates the ability to provide a solid pulse that, at the same time, twists the time around, making it more malleable; Weidenmueller keeps pace with a full-bodied tone and intuitive harmonic perception.

Kase's own compositions, which make up seven of the nine pieces on the album, clearly owe more to the European tradition, with the possible exception of "Monje," which is Spanish for its influence, "Monk"; it is the only tune that really swings in a distinctly American way. By combining a sense of invention with distinctive themes Kase has created an album that, with an innate romanticism, caresses the ear; there is nothing confrontational about Nine Easy Pieces , but the title is also a misnomer as these compositions are by no means easy. The album shows how complex material can be made accessible; how less direct harmonies can still, somehow, be made to sing.


Track Listing: Numero tres; Pieza facil; Speak Low; Mystery Waltz; Hesitation Tango; Cycle of Cycles: I. Dark Intervial; II. Loose Canon; III. Tiny Gems of Memory; Monje

Personnel: Chris Kase (trumpet, flugelhorn), Daniel Perez (guitar), John Stetch (piano), Johannes Weidenmueller (bass), Ari Hoenig (drums)

Title: Nine Easy Pieces | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Satchmo Jazz Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Aqustico vol 2 CD/LP/Track Review Aqustico vol 2
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Beginnings CD/LP/Track Review Beginnings
by David A. Orthmann
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Synchronic CD/LP/Track Review Synchronic
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Slægt CD/LP/Track Review Slægt
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 24, 2017
Read An Eye on the Future CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017
Read "Viriditas" CD/LP/Track Review Viriditas
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Moments Of Fatherhood" CD/LP/Track Review Moments Of Fatherhood
by John Sharpe
Published: April 9, 2017
Read "On A Monday Evening" CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Groovin’ Hard - Live at the Penthouse 1964 - 1968" CD/LP/Track Review Groovin’ Hard - Live at the Penthouse 1964 - 1968
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 11, 2017
Read "I Can See Clearly Now" CD/LP/Track Review I Can See Clearly Now
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 7, 2017
Read "Silhouettes" CD/LP/Track Review Silhouettes
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 14, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.