Over years, the Emanem label has built a reputation for fine releases by interesting and adventurous string ensembles such as Stellari String Quartet and Barrel. Preceding such groupings, the label released The Juillaguet Collection (Emanem, 1999) by the duo of Kent Carter and Albrecht Maurer on double bass and violin, respectively, and Intersections (Emanem, 2006) by the Kent Carter String Trio, in which the duo was joined by Katrin Mickiewicz on viola. Following that trend, it is no surprise to see that the five-member Kent Carter Rivière Ensemble centres around the trio, adding Laura Tejeda Martin's voice and Christine Bopp on trombone alongside the strings.
Despite three out of its five players playing strings and defining the soundscape, Oratorios and Songs is definitely not a string ensemble recording. Obviously aware of this, in his sleeve notes Emanem proprietor Martin Davidson writes of his love of this music before pondering whether there "will be enough broad-minded people around to appreciate this beautiful music as a whole." One element that may require such broad-minded people is Laura Tejeda Martin's mezzo-soprano which is versatile but sounds far more operatic than most jazz or improv voices. Her very precise diction, particularly when delivering lyrics based on poems, is sometimes reminiscent of Irène Aebi's voice in the groups of (Carter's erstwhile boss) Steve Lacy. As in those groups, some characteristics of the voice work well in context but a minority of listeners may need time to adjust; such adjustment is well worth making as when Martin's voice soars it is formidably powerful and affecting. To offset the voice, the inclusion of Bopp's trombone introduces an element that is recognisably from jazz and improv roots. When she gets the chance to shine, as on the extended "Cluster Ringing," Bopp steals the limelight, at times recalling Paul Rutherford. And when voice and trombone combine, they achieve an unexpected but impressive symbiosis.
Just as those additions have broadened the sound of the string trio, Carter's compositions here increase the range of his palette. Originally commissioned to accompany a multi-media show including dance (see the YouTube clip below for extracts from a performance), Oratorios and Songs blends a variety of elements including poetry, opera, jazz, improv and chamber music. The key word there is "blends" as Carter manages to integrate diverse ingredients into a whole that flows seamlessly without jump cuts or clunky gear changes. And, despite its original use to accompany live performances, the music stands up well in its own right. Throughout, the three string instruments underpin the music, whether playing as a trio or making individual contributions. Taken as a whole, this music gets better the more one hears it and it is well worth the investment of time to get to know it. It is impossible to argue with Davidson's description of it as "beautiful music." Highly recommended.
Track Listing: The Beginning; Cluster Ringing; Dumb Delights; The Red Haired man; Angela; Something for Conny; Manhattan Blues; Can’t Get Up; You Know..
Personnel: Laura Tejeda Martin: voice; Christine Bopp: trombone; Albrecht Maurer: violin; Katrin Mickiewicz: viola (alto); Kent Carter: double bass.
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.