136

Patrick Zimmerli: Phoenix

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Patrick Zimmerli: Phoenix On his sixth release, New York-based composer and saxophonist Patrick Zimmerli hybridizes the sounds of a jazz quartet with a string quartet, adding a gentle dose of samples and electronics and spicing it all up with popular and ethnic elements. Phoenix, Zimmerli's fourth release for the Vancouver based Songlines label, attempts to integrate these styles into what he calls "pan-stylistic art music," but he succeeds only partially.

Zimmerli enlisted a string quartet for this project that's led by violinist Scott Yoo, Music Director of the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra. He also recruited pianist Kevin Hays, who has worked with Joe Henderson and Sonny Rollins and recorded before with Zimmerli; fretless electric bassist Stomu Takeishi, who's played with Myra Melford, Erik Friedlander, and Satoko Fujii; and Stomu's brother, percussionist Satoshi Takeishi, who handles all the samples and electronics, and who has played with such diverse musicians as Anthony Braxton and Paul Winter. The Takeishi brothers played on Zimmerli's Explosion (Songlines, 1997) and Expansion (Songlines, 2000).

Zimmerli's stated aim of creating sonically appealing and aesthetically viable compositions that defy traditional definitions of styles brings some of his pieces into the territory of bland smooth jazz. Such is the case in the sample-based groove of "Away From You." His understated reading of Vinicius de Morales and Antonio Carlos Jobim's standard "How Sensitive" is done in an overly sweet way as well. His use of electronics and samples is figurative, as on "Clouds and Machines," where the mechanical rhythm is used only as distant color. The use of piano and electronic beats on "Gnosis Crisis," together with the string quartet, sounds like a less substantial version of one of Matthew Shipp's collaborations with Flam.

Zimmerli does better on the long suite "Wunderlichen Stadt," where the string quartet creates some drama, and much better on "Breath," where all the elements interlock brilliantly. On "Beginning," the musicians do not try to deliver an easily accessible sound, and they succeed in creating a menacing atmosphere. But too often you get the feeling that these compositions work best as moody soundscapes that cannot stand by themselves. Unfortunately, Zimmerli did not promote his new vision far enough to make Phoenix a truly captivating musical document.


Track Listing: M; Away From Home; Wunderlichen Stadt; How Insensitive; Clouds And Machines; The Bird Dances; Breath; M; Feel; Gnosis Crisis; Only Surround; Beginning; Summer Passes; M.

Personnel: Patrick Zimmerli: soprano saxophone; Scott Yoo: violin 1; Yoon Kwon: violin 2; Maurycy Banaszek: viola; Inbal Segev: violincello; Kevin Hays: piano; Stomu Takeishi: fretless electric bass; Satoshi Takeishi: percussion, drum programming, electronics.

Title: Phoenix | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Songlines Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Such A Sky CD/LP/Track Review Such A Sky
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31 CD/LP/Track Review Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "05:21" CD/LP/Track Review 05:21
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 28, 2016
Read "Sounds of 3" CD/LP/Track Review Sounds of 3
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "The Drive" CD/LP/Track Review The Drive
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 16, 2016
Read "Double Down" CD/LP/Track Review Double Down
by James Nadal
Published: June 10, 2017
Read "Cómo Desaparecer Completamente" CD/LP/Track Review Cómo Desaparecer Completamente
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Burning Ghosts" CD/LP/Track Review Burning Ghosts
by Troy Collins
Published: July 21, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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