233

Marc Ribot: Saints

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
Marc Ribot: Saints Perhaps the most interesting facet of Marc Ribot's solo guitar exposition is its focus on Albert Ayler. Three of the four compositions from Ayler's 1964 recording Witches and Devils appear on the disc, beginning with "Saints," on which Ribot emulates Ayler's austere saxophone cries on guitar or a guitar-like instrument (it's hard to tell). The tone is brittle, the attack aggressive, the pitches practically microtonal—a friend remarked on a certain similarity to Chinese music (echoes of Armstrong on bebop?). The sound of Ribot's instrument, however, is riveting in its clarity and textural richness. His aesthetic, too, is remarkably consistent and focused. You'd expect his signature strangeness to suit John Zorn's "Book of Heads #13," but he brings it to bear just as firmly on a rubato, acoustic version of "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," where he pays fairly close attention to the original melody and harmony but skates deliciously out of bounds. A similar ingenuity is at work on one other standard ("I'm Confessin'), rock and show tunes (The Beatles' "Happiness Is a Warm Gun," Bernstein's "Somewhere"), traditional songs ("Go Down Moses," "St. James Infirmary"), and a rather melancholy piece by kindred spirit John Lurie ("It Could Have Been Very Beautiful"). Toward the end Ribot meditates twice more on Albert Ayler, scraping and scratching and even vocalizing his way through "Witches and Devils" and "Holy Holy Holy." (On the Ayler reissue, the latter is listed as "Holy, Holy." Here Ribot simulates the ghost-like voice heard throughout the original version.)

Producer JD Foster plays an important role, giving Ribot different sonic backdrops as the program proceeds—a sort of vintage-radio effect on "I'm Confessin'," a low-fi, garage-like blues twang on "St. James Infirmary," computer-generated haze on "Empty" (the only original, a collaboration with Francois Lardeau).

The prevailing solo guitar model in jazz is the chord-melody approach as enshrined in the late Joe Pass's "Virtuoso" series. Ribot, who of course has never been a mainstream jazzer, makes a bold move toward a different model entirely—one in which rigorous knowledge of harmony and melody bumps up against an Aylerian outlaw sensibility, resulting in a sonic landscape that could only have been dreamed up by Ribot himself.


Track Listing: 1. Saints 2. Book of Heads #13 3. I?m Getting Sentimental Over You 4. Empty 5. Happiness Is a Warm Gun 6. I?m Confessin? 7. Go Down Moses 8. St. James Infirmary 9. Somewhere 10. Holy Holy Holy 11. It Could Have Been Very, Very Beautiful 12. Witches and Devils

Personnel: Marc Ribot, guitars, vocal.

Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Atlantic Jazz | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Shuffle Along" CD/LP/Track Review Shuffle Along
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 25, 2016
Read "City Colors" CD/LP/Track Review City Colors
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 28, 2016
Read "The Lightning Bell" CD/LP/Track Review The Lightning Bell
by John Eyles
Published: July 19, 2016
Read "Life After Life" CD/LP/Track Review Life After Life
by Troy Collins
Published: March 5, 2016
Read "Proximity" CD/LP/Track Review Proximity
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 30, 2016
Read "Voyage Home" CD/LP/Track Review Voyage Home
by Edward Blanco
Published: July 8, 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!