222

Sara Shoenbeck: One Dance Alone & Ostinato And...

By

Sign in to view read count








Wayne Horvitz Gravitas Quartet
One Dance Alone
Songlines
2008


Diana Wayburn
Ostinato And...
Self Published
2008




Wayne Horvitz' Gravitas Quartet has come a long way in the two years since its exquisite debut Way Out East. The group has refined its genre-bending chamber music to where composed passages melt seamlessly into improvisations in moments of striking intimacy. One Dance Alone perfectly balances Horvitz' composing skills and his bandmates' creative prowess.

As the group name suggests, there's a quiet dignity that pervades One Dance Alone. The quartet navigates 11 tracks with the precision and collective breath of a practiced classical ensemble, but manages to imbue each piece with the wit and spontaneity of the greatest jazz performances. The wry humor in Horvitz' writing is present in his soloist's language and is dispensed liberally throughout the album. "A Walk in the Rain" is more of a lilting two-step in the hands of the leader, who toys with blues, stride and impressionistic flourishes throughout the six-minute track, often behind Ron Miles' ebullient trumpet.

Cellist Peggy Lee and bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck contribute heavily, both as accompanists and soloists and are given the free reign that was noticeably absent on Way Out East. On the minimally melancholic "July III," Lee's bowed phrases evoke muted colors and weave an irregular pattern around Horvitz' rubato accompaniment. Schoenbeck is equally haunting on "To Say Your Name," a piece that bookends an unassumingly gorgeous theme with esoteric ensemble passages. Three-and-a-half minutes into the piece, the surrounding voices evaporate and Schoenbeck's improvisation comes to the fore. Her quietly assured statement and the passages that precede and follow it capture the album's essence: unapologetic experimentation and unflinching devotion to melody.

The quite literally-titled Ostinato And... doesn't leave the listener guessing for long. A quick listen, or even a glance at the track titles, is enough to complete the sentence. Improvisations by multi-instrumentalist Diana Wayburn's band, in various permutations, act as a foil to the meditative originals that lie at the heart of the album. Wayburn's style as a composer and instrumentalist sits at the crossroads of jazz and world music and her choice of bandmates reflects this. Justin Wood, who also plays saxophone on the album, often doubles her flute and the group is rounded out with the unique timbres of cello, sitar, bassoon and percussion. While the group's full sonic capabilities are never fully exploited, there are moments when the voices blend to form a compelling original sound.

"Light" features the entire sextet over a pulsing rhythm that is volleyed throughout the ensemble. Dawoud Kringle's sitar floats over the gentle ostinato, striking chords and running probing lines before bassoonist Schoenbeck takes over. She is the standout throughout the album, especially on her improvised solo track. In a whirl of throaty overtones and grating multiphonics, the bassoonist shows what her temperamental instrument, in the right hands, is capable of and hints at things to come.


Tracks and Personnel

One Dance Alone

Tracks: July II; A Walk In The Rain; July III; A Fond Farewell (for Nica); July I; To Say Your Name; Waltz From Woman of Tokyo; One Dance Alone; Good Shepherd; We Never Met; Undecided.

Personnel: Wayne Horvitz: piano; Peggy Lee: cello; Ron Miles: cornet; Sara Schoenbeck: bassoon.

Ostinato And...

Tracks: Prelude; Improvisation; Improvisation; Light; Improvisation; Improvisation; From Africa; Improvisation; Improvisation; Dance; Improvisation.

Personnel: Diana Wayburn: flute, piano; Justin Wood: flute, sax; Dawoud Kringle: sitar; Will Martina: cello; Sara Schoenbeck: bassoon; Chris Golinski: percussion.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Two Sides of John Wetton Multiple Reviews Two Sides of John Wetton
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 20, 2017
Read The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August Rosenbaum Multiple Reviews The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 13, 2017
Read A Sense of Place Multiple Reviews A Sense of Place
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 12, 2017
Read David Murray Octets on Black Saint Multiple Reviews David Murray Octets on Black Saint
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 11, 2017
Read New and Notable Releases Multiple Reviews New and Notable Releases
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 4, 2017
Read "Roots In The Green Mountains" Multiple Reviews Roots In The Green Mountains
by Doug Collette
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "Christmas Roundup 2016: Aguankó, Jeff Collins, & Vinnie Zummo" Multiple Reviews Christmas Roundup 2016: Aguankó, Jeff Collins, &...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "Blues Deluxe 2" Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe 2
by Doug Collette
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Queen Esther: Sings Jazz & Black Americana" Multiple Reviews Queen Esther: Sings Jazz & Black Americana
by James Nadal
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas" Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.