Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers 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!

126

The Jeff Gauthier Goatette: Open Source

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Open Source would have made a good alternative name for violinist Jeff Gauthier's ensemble, as it draws inspiration from myriad sources. Goatette continues its near twenty-year journey into territory ranging from avant-garde and sci-fi soundscapes, and deep funk grooves colored by searing electric guitar, to an altogether more pastoral melodicism reminiscent of the Mahavishnu Orchestra at its most serene. Now a sextet with the addition of trumpeter John Fumo, the widely traveled musician steers a course between post-bop and electric jazz-fusion. His voice, whether striding out on his own or blending beautifully with Gauthier's violin, makes a great impression and adds new depth to the ensemble sound.

Crunching guitar, drums and bass unison riffs launch Gauthier's "40 Lashes (With Mascara)," separated by brief, almost classical trumpet and violin motifs. Bassist Joel Hamilton and drummer Alex Cline forge a wicked groove, while Dave Witham's grungy, distorted keyboard solo stirs up some serious sonic waves, like Bojan Z in a dark mood. Fumo follows with a concise, vibrant statement, before guitarist Nels Cline ups the ante with a ferocious, effects-laden assault that sounds like a bunch of cats scrapping. It's a dramatic and compelling opener.

Witham's little gem, "From a Rainy Night," has a hint of Mahavishnu Orchestra's grace about it. Trumpet and violin trace the melody, while piano dances lightly. Liftoff comes almost surreptitiously, but the gathering momentum is enveloping. Propulsive drumming dominates, while Nels Cline's classical guitar registers almost subliminally. Gauthier's beautifully weighted yet zesty solo is the heart of a song which simply seduces from the first note. The leader's buoyant, folk-colored, classically-informed improvisations throughout Open Source walk a line between timeless tradition and modern verve.

"Seashells and Balloons" flits between form and chaos, the elegant trumpet and violin intro giving way to a stuttering waltz—all jagged piano, jittery accordion and stumbling percussion, as if Tom Waits had been drinking all night with left-field multi-instrumentalist/instrument inventor Harry Partch. It's a curio of some ambition, but in a recording of tremendous compositional breadth, no anomaly. "Prelude to a Bite" is more structurally spacious, and features meaty solos from Fumo—bristling like electric-period Miles Davis—and Nels Cline, with a rattling conclusion from twin brother Alex. The gentle lyricism of the piano-dominated "Things Past" provides another example of the late bassist/pianist Eric Von Essen's composing strengths, and features muted trumpet and beautifully serene violin.

The intensity is ratcheted up a notch or two on saxophonist Ornette Coleman's episodic "Joy of a Toy," from 1960, which goes from tightly knit post-bop charge to more out-there improvisation. Nels Cline's twisted blues lines provide the pick of a crop of exuberant solos. And at almost fifteen minutes, the epic title track moves from spacey melancholy through neoclassical melodies and noise abstractions. The sextet emerges into more clearly defined rhythmic territory, with Gauthier and Fumo weaving melodic lines around each other as effects rage like a galactic storm.

Whilst Goatette references jazz's past, its approach is nevertheless utterly modern and makes for absorbing listening. Open Source is a boldly inventive collective statement by a soaring ensemble that may not have even peaked yet.

Track Listing: 40 Lashes (With Mascara); From a Rainy Night; Seashells and Balloons; Prelude to a Bite; Things Past; Joy of a Toy; Open Source.

Personnel: Jeff Gauthier: violin, electric violin, effects; John Fumo: trumpet, effects; Nels Cline: electric guitar, classical guitar, effects; David Witham: piano, keyboards, effects; Joel Hamilton: bass; Alex Cline: drums, percussion.

Title: Open Source | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Cryptogramophone


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Bricks CD/LP/Track Review Bricks
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 17, 2017
Read Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Sounding Tears CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Kill The Boy CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "Blue Skylight" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Skylight
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 12, 2017
Read "Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 24, 2017
Read "UpRoot" CD/LP/Track Review UpRoot
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 2, 2017
Read "The Traveller's Tale" CD/LP/Track Review The Traveller's Tale
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 17, 2017
Read "Destinations" CD/LP/Track Review Destinations
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2017
Read "Oração Para Amanhã (Prayer for Tomorrow)" CD/LP/Track Review Oração Para Amanhã (Prayer for...
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 10, 2017

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!