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!

479

Uri Caine: Plays Mozart

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Ten years ago pianist Uri Caine unveiled Urlicht/Primal Light (Winter & Winter, 1997), his first foray fusing electro-acoustic jazz improvisation with the structural intricacies of the Western Classical canon. Caine's take on Mahler was audaciously brilliant, and it laid the ground work for subsequent projects exploring the work of Bach, Beethoven, Schumann and Wagner. Plays Mozart is Caine's latest effort in this fertile milieu, as well as one of his most enjoyable.

This is a reunion of sorts: the members of Caine's ensemble have all played with him before in one or more of these projects, with the notable exception of electric guitarist Nguyen Le. A newcomer to Caine's eclectic methodology, Le's Hendrixian playing adds just the right amount of sizzle to these interpretations, often bolstered by the propulsive heft of Jim Black's irrepressible trap set ruminations.

Arranged around three solo piano sonatas that act as bookends and an intermission of sorts, the album unfolds gradually, moving eclectically from mood to mood. Reinterpreting Mozart's lyrical jubilance with visceral energy, the ensemble injects a dose of contemporary excitement to these lionized themes without ever reducing their familiar tunefulness to trivial redundancy. In the hands of these improvisers, the antiquated becomes modernistic.

Caine is by turns ruminative or animated at the piano, supported authoritatively by Joyce Hammann's neo-classical violin. Ralph Alessi's trumpet elicits clarion pronouncements while Chris Speed veers from dulcet, woody tones to ardent intensity on clarinet. DJ Olive's contributions are as subtle and atmospheric as Drew Gress' bass foundation is stalwart and formidable. Jim Black's rock-inflected percussive tattoos drive guitarist Nguyen Le into stratospheric territory, providing the album's most energetic surprises.

Caine's prevailing conceptual conceit with material like this has been the commonality found between genres often segregated by cultural prejudice. Working in klezmer and Dixieland variations, as well as free jazz, psychedelic rock and even subtle electronica, Caine can seem mighty irreverent to the old guard. But he also contributes pieces of unflagging beauty and tenderness, proving his point that all forms (from the sacred to the profane) can exist on the same plane, if only one allows them.


Track Listing: Piano Sonata in C Major (first movement); Symphony 40 in G Minor (first movement); Symphony 41 in C Major (second movement); Clarinet Quintet in A Major (fourth movement); Piano Sonata in C Major (second movement); Sinfonia Concertante in Eb Major (third movement; "Batti, Batti O Bel Masetto" aria from "Don Giovanni"; "Bei Mannern, Welche Liebe Fuhlen" duet and "Der Holle Rache Kocht in Meinem Herzen" aria from "Die Zauberflote"; Turkish Rondo from Piano Sonata in A Major; Piano Sonata in C Major (third movement).

Personnel: Uri Caine: piano; Joyce Hammann: violin; Chris Speed: clarinet; Ralph Alessi: trumpet; Nguyen Le: electric guitar; DJ Olive: turntables; Drew Gress: double bass; Jim Black: drums.

Title: Plays Mozart | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Winter & Winter


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read "Live At Jazz Room Cortez" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Jazz Room Cortez
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 14, 2017
Read "Hourglass" CD/LP/Track Review Hourglass
by Paul Rauch
Published: May 18, 2017
Read "Metal Na Madeira" CD/LP/Track Review Metal Na Madeira
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 6, 2017
Read "The Chicago Plan" CD/LP/Track Review The Chicago Plan
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 16, 2017
Read "Green With Envy" CD/LP/Track Review Green With Envy
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2017
Read "Lattice" CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 25, 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!

Please support out sponsor