148

Vicious World: Plays the Music of Rufus Wainwright

Andrew J. Sammut By

Sign in to view read count
Vicious World: Plays the Music of Rufus Wainwright Vicious World might have a field day on its tribute to the music of Rufus Wainwright, except the tunes are rarely that lighthearted. Let's just say the septet is moved to musical tears by the singer/songwriter's earnest melodies and bittersweet harmonies.

Even that's putting it mildly. Anxious strings introduce Aaron Irwin's alto sax on the dejected "Going to a Town." "Natasha" pits the innocence of violin and clarinet against Matthew McDonald's bittersweet trombone, choreographing a beautiful, fragile ballad. "This Love Affair" features McDonald brooding over a rock feel with Sebastian Noelle's splayed guitar, while the guitarist spirals and pauses over the reflective chord changes of "The Art Teacher." Wainwright's music never lets too much light (or lightness) in, and Vicious World's probing solos and clever arrangements create a canvas from multiple shades of darkness.

Violinist Eliza Cho and cellist Maria Jeffers are put to poignant use throughout, even if they often stick to tremolo effects. Joined by bassist Thomson Kneeland on "Memphis Skyline," they form a rich string trio that eschews lush sentimentality or pseudo-classical allusions.

More upbeat moments still well up, with tears alongside the laughter, as the whimsical stage band ambiance and Danny Fischer's popping snare drum define "Matinee Idol." "Millbrook" is a short, tender hymn to the composer's high school, in quaint counterpoint under Irwin's saxophone, while his clarinet work on "Peach Trees" offers a playful foil to the cool alto cultivated on the rest of the album.

Noelle and Kneeland regularly play with Irwin's New York-based band, and Vicious World (named after another Wainwright tune) has been exploring the music of Wainwright and other contemporary pop artists since 2005. Their familiarity with each others' styles is evident, as are the structural and emotional nuances of this repertoire. "Dinner at Eight" ends the disc with a lazy waltz, fading in and out of free time, giving the impression of seven old friends recalling the good times and the bad, as soloist and accompanist are locked in sensitive interplay.

Vicious World treats Wainwright's songs as it would any jazz standard: with an open mind and solid musicianship. An abundance of melancholy aside, this album raises the spirits after taking them on several emotional detours. Difficult journeys once again turn out to be the most rewarding.

Track Listing: Going to a Town; Natasha; This Love Affair; Memphis Skyline; Leaving for Paris; Matinee Idol; Peach Trees; Millbrook; The Art Teacher; In a Graveyard; Dinner at Eight.

Personnel: Aaron Irwin: alto saxophone, clarinet and flute; Matthew McDonald: trombone; Sebastian Noelle: guitar; Thomson Kneeland: bass; Danny Fischer: drums; Eliza Cho: violin; Maria Jeffers: cello.

Title: Plays the Music of Rufus Wainwright | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Spinaround Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Birdhoused CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review Vol. 1
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Meeting My Shadow CD/LP/Track Review Meeting My Shadow
by James Nadal
Published: July 22, 2017
Read No Secrets No Lies CD/LP/Track Review No Secrets No Lies
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 22, 2017
Read 50 CD/LP/Track Review 50
by Doug Collette
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Day After Day CD/LP/Track Review Day After Day
by John Eyles
Published: July 21, 2017
Read "The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door" CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Ante Lucem for Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Quintet" CD/LP/Track Review Ante Lucem for Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Quintet
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 3, 2016
Read "Hudson" CD/LP/Track Review Hudson
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 18, 2017
Read "King of the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review King of the Blues
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 27, 2016
Read "Nearness" CD/LP/Track Review Nearness
by Doug Collette
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "Stereotomic" CD/LP/Track Review Stereotomic
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 18, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!