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.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Atavistic Worldwide | Style: Ambient


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 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 "Kansas City Here I Come" CD/LP/Track Review Kansas City Here I Come
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Blues and Ballads" CD/LP/Track Review Blues and Ballads
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2016
Read "Intuitus" CD/LP/Track Review Intuitus
by John Eyles
Published: April 23, 2016
Read "Morning Glory" CD/LP/Track Review Morning Glory
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 8, 2016
Read "Disappearing Day" CD/LP/Track Review Disappearing Day
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 9, 2016
Read "Starer" CD/LP/Track Review Starer
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 26, 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!