255

Prose Inspired Projects: Scott Fields/Henning Sieverts

Elliott Simon By

Sign in to view read count








Scott Fields Ensemble
Beckett
Clean Feed
2007


Henning Sieverts
Symmetry
Pirouet
2007


Both of these releases have prose as their muse and include drummer John Hollenbeck as a sideman. This is not surprising as Hollenbeck is a meticulous musician who has a proclivity for precision and a propensity for delicate phrasing. Electric guitarist Scott Fields fronts a quartet that employs free improvisation to depict more the form and feel than the storyline of five plays by Samuel Beckett while German bassist Henning Sieverts and his quintet cleverly construct a program of palindromic playfulness with 14 cuts based upon both literary and musical symmetry.

Beckett is best known as a minimalist who highlighted the conundrum of humanity's despair in conjunction with the will to go on; Fields however has given him a surprisingly upbeat interpretation. Cellist Scott Roller and saxophonist Matthias Schubert are the two additional performers who round out this interesting quartet and they fit very well into what alternates between engaging dialogue and freeform soliloquy. Hollenbeck propels more with staccato jabs than by laying down a discernible rhythm track to set the overall prosody, setting the stage for creative interpretations. "Breath" maintains the original brevity of the stage-work but restages birth-cry to whimper while riffing off of the "birth-life-death" theme. The extended compositions pick up on bits and pieces of the originals: a pause, a single structure, the gestalt to develop a lively musical discussion of the dramatic material.

Sieverts has chosen to title each of his compositions on Symmetry with single phrases that can be read the same forward as backward. As such, "Top Spot" turns into a cool take on the hackneyed exercise used to warm up school concert bands and choirs, whereas "Sun is in Us" is a warm forum for stretching out. Tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Chris Speed imparts his beautiful tone and interesting improv to these word games. Trombonist Johannes Lauer and pianist Achim Kaufmann blend with Speed for full-throated voicings on compositions like the swinging "Deep Speed." Sieverts, in addition to maintaining the bottom and displaying some lovely arco work, has cleverly imbedded his own musical palindromes into each piece. This allows the more theoretically inclined to uncover the symmetrical A-B-A-B-A form of the gentle "We Few" or the symmetrical augmented triads in the free-formish "Emit Time." Hollenbeck is his usual perfectionist self, adding the ideal coloration through a multitude of sounds that include bells, pops, dings and taps or providing spot-on rhythm for the more traditional swingers.


Tracks and Personnel

Beckett

Tracks: Breath, Play, Come and Go, What Where, Rockaby.

Personnel: Scott Fields: electric guitar; John Hollenbeck: percussion; Scott Roller: cello; Matthias Schubert: tenor saxophone.

Symmetry

Tracks: Top Spot, Sun Is In Us, Lion Oil, Deep Speed, All For One, One For All, Bird Rib, Leaves Fall Fall Leaves, Sum Summus Mus, Luz Azul, Never Odd Or Even, Evil Olive, We Few, Emit Time, Dr. Awkward.

Personnel: Henning Sieverts: bass, cello; Johannes Lauer: trombone; Chris Speed tenor saxophone, clarinet; Achim Kaufmann: piano; John Hollenbeck: drums.


Shop

More Articles

Read Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read New, Notable and Nearly Missed Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
Read Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read Weekertoft Hits Its Stride… Multiple Reviews Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…
by John Eyles
Published: January 7, 2017
Read Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 4, 2017
Read 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Three New Releases from Peter Kuhn" Multiple Reviews Three New Releases from Peter Kuhn
by Dave Wayne
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "NendoDango Records: Reinventing Tradition" Multiple Reviews NendoDango Records: Reinventing Tradition
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "Three saxophonists very different paths since "Propagations"" Multiple Reviews Three saxophonists very different paths since "Propagations"
by John Eyles
Published: November 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!