Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

209

Cosa Brava: Ragged Atlas

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
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 Zé; A Song About Love; Market Day.

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

Title: Ragged Atlas | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Intakt Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Music in the Room CD/LP/Track Review Music in the Room
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2017
Read Of Light and Shadows CD/LP/Track Review Of Light and Shadows
by Phillip Woolever
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven CD/LP/Track Review Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven
by Doug Collette
Published: December 9, 2017
Read The Chicago Blues Box 2 CD/LP/Track Review The Chicago Blues Box 2
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 9, 2017
Read I Speilvendthet CD/LP/Track Review I Speilvendthet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Book Of Sound CD/LP/Track Review Book Of Sound
by Gareth Thompson
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "Mellophonium Memoirs" CD/LP/Track Review Mellophonium Memoirs
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "Do Not Disturb" CD/LP/Track Review Do Not Disturb
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 26, 2016
Read "New Life" CD/LP/Track Review New Life
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 25, 2017
Read "L.O.T.U.S." CD/LP/Track Review L.O.T.U.S.
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Free Sessions Vol. 1: Planets Of Kei" CD/LP/Track Review Free Sessions Vol. 1: Planets Of Kei
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 27, 2017
Read "Genesis, Mystery And Magic" CD/LP/Track Review Genesis, Mystery And Magic
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 6, 2017

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!