All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read For You CD/LP/Track Review
For You
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 12, 2018
Read Espace Cardin 1977 CD/LP/Track Review
Espace Cardin 1977
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 12, 2018
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review
Song of No Regrets
by Peter Hoetjes
Published: November 12, 2018
Read Ay  Que Boogaloo! CD/LP/Track Review
Ay Que Boogaloo!
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 12, 2018
Read When Sunny Gets Blue: Spring ’68 Sessions CD/LP/Track Review
When Sunny Gets Blue: Spring ’68 Sessions
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 12, 2018
Read Lake Geneva CD/LP/Track Review
Lake Geneva
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 11, 2018
Read "Live In Europe" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Europe
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 3, 2018
Read "My Muse" CD/LP/Track Review My Muse
by Peter Hoetjes
Published: October 28, 2018
Read "In Denmark I Was Born" CD/LP/Track Review In Denmark I Was Born
by Gareth Thompson
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "Throw Tomatoes" CD/LP/Track Review Throw Tomatoes
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 26, 2018
Read "Music For David Mossman" CD/LP/Track Review Music For David Mossman
by John Sharpe
Published: September 2, 2018
Read "Imaginary Numbers" CD/LP/Track Review Imaginary Numbers
by John Sharpe
Published: August 21, 2018