231

Boxhead Ensemble: Quartets

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Boxhead Ensemble: Quartets
You can tell this book by the cover. The dull steel blue, the framed papery textures, the conservative font, each letter out of contrast and nearly illegible. From the very beginning, it's pretty damn obvious that you aren't likely to be able to discriminate the voices that make up the Boxhead Ensemble. Pay the price, reap the rewards.

I'm not going to pretend I can tell you who is doing what here, and I'm not going to pretend I care. The point of the (all-star) BE, best I can tell, is to paint a landscape in grey—and flesh out certain hills and lakes in blue, just enough so they stand out. You might imagine one of those nature movies where the camera slowly pans the surf and the leaves and the water and the clouds, and you'll be pretty close. Don't get out of your chair; you'll only want to sit down again.

There's been an interesting movement in the ambient/Americana department of the jazz school which has drawn music toward buoyantly lush, soft textures, simple harmonies and gently flowing melodies. Look at what Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny have done in recent years, and that sound of the heartland has become pretty obvious. Chicago's Boxhead Ensemble (of seven players, mostly on strings) rides on reverberance, simple resolving melodies, and a relaxed pace that ambles without ever rushing or pausing, but never shies from detail. Quartets "One" through "Eight" flow by like a river, bringing along softness and peace. Everyone likes to use the word "pastoral." Sure, whatever.

If you're allergic to peace, get lost. If you have a soft spot for the echo that never ends, tune in. Speaking as an open-minded listener, I cannot recommend this record strongly enough to new bearers of the flag. Strings are made to reverberate.

Visit Atavistic on the web.

Track Listing

One - 5:24; Two - 3:44; Three - 4:09; Four - 12:06; Five - 8:57; Six - 6:43; Seven - 1:29.

Personnel

Jessica Billey, Michael Colligan, Ryan Hembrey, Glenn Kotche, Michael Krassner, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Scott Tuma: various instruments.

Album information

Title: Quartets | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Atavistic Worldwide

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Ein.
Suomi Morishita
The Elements
Madre Vaca
Winter Garden
Flow Trio with Joe McPhee
Pachamama
Phisqa
Elsewhere
Keisuke Kishi
Old Souls
The KUH Trio
Other Worlds
Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas Soundprints

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.