111

Tanya Kalmanovitch Hut Five: Out Where the Trains Don't Run

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
As relatively unusual as it is to hear the violin in a jazz context, the viola is an even more unlikely improvising instrument. And yet, classical masters like Kim Kashkashian have brought its rich texture to bear on albums including Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek's latest, In Praise of Dreams , where the viola's inherent warmth contrasted Garbarek's icy tone. Violist Tanya Kalmanovitch, who first emerged on the scene with her '02 debut, Hut Five , may have classical training, but when left to her own devices with her quartet, she is far more informed by the improvisational looseness of Ornette Coleman and the new music freedom of Mark Feldman, combined with a certain fusion energy.

According to Kalmanovitch, the five spontaneous group improvisations recorded for her debut disc were a highlight of that session. And so, with one day in the studio, the group—featuring Boston-based guitarist Rick Peckham, Irish bassist Ronan Guilfoyle, and drummer Owen Howard, like Kalmanovitch a Canadian relocated to New York—convened in the middle of a 2003 tour of Canadian festivals with an eye to recreating the same kind of magic. The result, Out Where the Trains Don't Run , is as remarkable for its sense of compositional focus as it is for its reckless abandon, a perfect confluence of specific intent and wider speculation.

There are precious few premises. On these sixteen miniatures, band members take turns at starting a take, occasionally providing but the barest of directions—"calypso,"? "country,"? or "plucky"?—and spontaneously agreeing upon only the ending. In the process Kalmanovitch and the quartet cover a lot of stylistic ground. "Rick's Got Something"? is a funky piece of fusion, starting with Peckham's compelling riff, but it opens up soon enough with the kind of "everyone solos and nobody solos"? approach of Bill Frisell's more Americana-leaning work. Guilfoyle's acoustic bass guitar forms dark Steve Swallow-like chords to establish the basis of "Soft T,"? with Kalmanovitch providing more obscure counterpoint. "Promosexual"? and "You Could Be Loved in Canada"? are more overtly free pieces, while "You Never Know"? approaches tenderness with its faux-Latin rhythm, yet remains harmonically outré.

The magic comes from the fact that virtually any precept put forward is quickly picked up and turned into something with its own compositional focus. Every member of the quartet is deeply intuitive, able to latch onto the smallest of conceits and turn it into something greater. The bright calypso of "Hairletters and Hipswingers"? feels completely planned, as does the more languid "Billet-Doux,"? where Peckham and Guilfoyle enter together, already remarkably in synch. And while the instrumental prowess of these four artists is never in question, it's their ego-less pursuit of a larger collective whole that gives Out Where The Trains Don't Run its character.

Retaining consistent personnel is always a challenge, but based on the clear chemistry of Out Where the Trains Don't Run , one hopes that Kalmanovitch can at least periodically reconvene this group for future projects.

Visit Tanya Kalmanovitch on the web.


Track Listing: Rock's Got Something; Soft T; Promosexual; You Never Know; Hutmobile; Death to False Metal; Hairletters and Hipswingers; Whimprov; Billet-Doux; Plucky Bits of Jelly; You Could Be Loved in Canada; Power City; Straight Into the Delete Bin; Seventeen Years of Silence; Wallop Wallop; Out Where the Trains Don't Run

Personnel: Tanya Kalmanovitch (viola, violin), Rick Peckham (guitar), Ronan Guilfoyle (acoustic bass guitar), Owen Howard (drums).

Title: Out Where the Trains Don't Run | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Perspicacity Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Provenance CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 17, 2017
Read No Matter Where Noir CD/LP/Track Review No Matter Where Noir
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Out Of Silence CD/LP/Track Review Out Of Silence
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Plodi CD/LP/Track Review Plodi
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Secret Language CD/LP/Track Review Secret Language
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Shamat CD/LP/Track Review Shamat
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "Life. Love. Flesh. Blood." CD/LP/Track Review Life. Love. Flesh. Blood.
by Doug Collette
Published: July 1, 2017
Read "Pekka" CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "Liquid Melodies" CD/LP/Track Review Liquid Melodies
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "Triple Double" CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "For Massas" CD/LP/Track Review For Massas
by Daniel Barbiero
Published: June 11, 2017
Read "King For A Day" CD/LP/Track Review King For A Day
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 3, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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

Please support out sponsor