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Spiritualized, Connie Crothers, Allen Lowe & Vinny Golia

Martin Longley By

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Allen Lowe's set offered a complete contrast, with a large outfit negotiating substantial new pieces, schizophrenically attuned to complex themes and hinterland improvisation within parameters that were always just in view. Lowe called his collection Music For Every Occasion: Some Pieces Of New Jazz. He's one of the select breed of tunesmiths who are openly devoted to old-time New Orleans roots, whilst simultaneously tearing them apart and pointing out their empathy with free jazz and atonality in general. This is a potent blend indeed. On this night, it led to a manifestation of jazz that was not quite like any other. Trumpeter Randy Sandke is also known as one of those mainstream champions who's open to the odd tussle with the out-there. Pianist and scribe Lewis Porter was on hand to subvert the stride piano vocabulary in a line-up that also included drummer Lou Grassi, guitarist Ray Suhy, tubaman Christopher Meeder and bassist Kevin Ray. Lowe's rambling introductions established a vivid musical background. Setting the tone was "All The Blues You Could Play By Now If Nicholas Payton Was Your Cousin." The solos went rambling and curving into unpredictable hollows and nooks, but they were always in touch with the themes, which would jump back in suddenly with a remarkable accuracy of rambling purposefulness.

Vinny Golia
April 4, 2013

Once again, the instrumentation and character of this evening's music arrived from moderne classical quarters. Reedsman Vinny Golia is mostly concerned with jazz, but his Music For Strings, Piano & Woodwinds Ensemble operated mostly in the serene, stern, arid, sleek and formal regions. A cold shower of theoretical non-compromise. Golia started this group in the late 1980s, when they worked out of Los Angeles. During this Roulette performance, the composer himself provided the most overtly jazzy vocabulary, moving between soprano saxophone, clarinet and various flutes. The impressive gathering included pianist Angelica Sanchez, bassman Ken Filiano and the strings of Jason Kao Hwang, Sarah Bernstein, Tomas Ulrich and Nicole Federici. The pieces, dating from the period of 2009-2013, merged into each other, bridged by improvisatory solo passages built on various permutations as the pristine arrangements unwound. Golia's writing leaves space for individual expression, but his compositions also possess an improvisatory nature in the way the themes resound with an organic grittiness. He's languishing in both spheres simultaneously. Golia was frequently holding up pictorial prompters to his players, mostly to establish an agreed key. Suspended glacial movement eventually grew into a swaying ramble, sheets of icy fragments raining down, scything towards a piano solo, then into a cello and flute duo, sparsely articulated. Filiano soloed with passion, the strings and flute making stretched, suspended smears. Sometimes, the music drifted into predictable 'new music' tonalities, but then a subversive solo section would confound expectation, twisting the work's progress in an unfamiliar manner.

Photo Credit

Cristina Guadalupe


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