Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

209

Cosa Brava: Ragged Atlas

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Cosa Brava: Ragged Atlas There's a lot to a title as far as Ragged Atlas is concerned. The members of Cosa Brava have long been skilled in avoiding the obvious and their music incorporates influences from disparate sources. The range of their musical activities and affiliations in the past result in a coherence that is notable. When allied to the self-evident depth of intelligence at work here it amounts to something special.

There's impishness about the music, a sense of fun that maybe stems from the joy of discovery. When the likes of that comes from such experienced hands it's a joy in itself. Nowhere is this more evident than on "Falling Upwards (for Amanda)" where an arguably banal lyric is incorporated within lithe, supple music raised to another level by Carla Kihlstedt's violin.

The elegiac "Lucky Thirteen" is shot through with a sense of unease so refined that the very singularity of the music is refined in turn. Fred Frith turns in an economical but fraught guitar solo that not only meets the demands of the song but also acts as another voice, lifting the music to a level that no lyric with its fixed ideas could encompass.

Initially "Blimey, Einstein" has about it a lilt informed perhaps by Frith's past work in the company of Swedish band Samla Mammas Manna but the lyric is heavy with contradictory foreboding. The resulting tension proves fruitful, however, principally as a result of Kihlstedt's eloquent violin again.

On "Tall Story" it's the musicianship that makes all the difference. In lesser hands such a piece might come off as so much fluff but here there's a sense of tension and release that militates against that even while Zeena Parkins' accordion is to the fore. The instrument might be seen as unwieldy particularly in improvised music, but here lays evidence to refute the notion.

"For Tom Ze" is given a deft reading, and such are the dynamics that demonstrate just how subtle this unit can be. The resulting lightness is happily not without substance however, and the abiding impression is of a musical melting pot in the best sense, with everything brought to the table handled with sensitivity and admirable brio.

In closing things out, "Market Day" is more reflective, but not at the expense of mood. The lyric is pensive but not to the point of introspection, while it's at the margins of the music where the most offbeat elements lie. This band is adept at handling such things, and with a lack of calculation that's admirable.


Track Listing: Snake Eating Its Tail; Round Dance; Pour Albert; R.D. Burman; Falling Up (for Amanda); Out On The Town With Rusty, 1967; Lucky Thirteen; Blimey Einstein; The New World; Tall Story; For Tom Ze; A Song About Love; Market Day.

Personnel: Fred Frith: guitar, bass, voice; Carla Kihlstedt: violin, nycelharpa, bass harmonica, voice; Zeena Parkins: accordion, keyboards, foley objects, voice; Matthias Bossi: drums, percussion, sruti box, voice; The Norman Conquest: sound manipulation. Anantha Krishnan: mridingam, tabla (4).

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Intakt Records | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Hear & Now CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
Read Known-Unknown CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
Read Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival CD/LP/Track Review Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival
Read Stinger CD/LP/Track Review Stinger
Read Binary CD/LP/Track Review Binary
Read Piano Song CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
Read "Yo!" CD/LP/Track Review Yo!
Read "Suite Ellington" CD/LP/Track Review Suite Ellington
Read "Escualo" CD/LP/Track Review Escualo
Read "Out On The Coast" CD/LP/Track Review Out On The Coast
Read "Umbra" CD/LP/Track Review Umbra
Read "Love Wins Again" CD/LP/Track Review Love Wins Again

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!