All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

148

Bill Barner: Ten Tunes

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Variety is the theme of Bill Barner's plainly titled Ten Tunes. Although currently employed by a big band and small swing combos, Barner's career as reed man has spanned different genres, from free jazz and Indian raga and to bluegrass and klezmer, and the disc reflects that versatility, with the leader focusing exclusively on clarinet.

Opening with the Chicago-style, blues-rock "Opening Gambit" Stan Smith's blistering guitar work contrasts with the unique and mellow Barner, while the soulful "Wide Stance Dance" is marked by Smith's loosely swinging urban sounds and Barner's acerbic tone. Perhaps Barner's most complex improvisations are on the bop-ish and up-tempo "Squeeky Rico," where his train of thought seamlessly passes on to Smith before a repetition of the theme brings the tune to a close.

Musical traditions from other parts of the world make up a large portion of the record. The classically influenced "Barbaro" is reminiscent of art house European film soundtracks, with its nostalgic dialogue between Barner and Smith, with Roger Hines' melancholic bass work adding another emotional dimension to the piece. Hines also brings an earthy quality to the otherwise ethereal clarinet-led and Brazilian -sounding, "Charm Offensive," while his arco solo on the Middle Eastern-tinged "Connecting Dots" enhances the mysterious mood that the modal improvisations create. Here again, Smith and Barner weave a musical fairytale that could have come right out of The Arabian Nights.

Flamenco flourishes characterize "Palmas," where Smith mixes jazz sensibilities with traditional Spanish sounds and Barner plays an intensely romantic melody over the rhythm section's passionate groove.

Danny Aguiar's rollicking drum work is the understated driving force behind the quartet and his virtuosity shines through on the angular and somewhat fusion-like four-way conversation of "War of the Words," the atmospheric "Flying Monkeys" and the whimsically short "Toddler's Dance."

This enjoyable and always interesting session highlights the versatility of the clarinet—and also the high level musicianship of Barner and his band mates—but also breaks it free from the narrow niche to which the instrument, unfortunately, is often relegated to in modern music.

Track Listing: Opening Gambit; Flying Monkeys; Charm Offensive; Wide Stance Dance; Barbaro; Squeaky Rico; Connecting Dots; Toddler Dance; A War of Words; Palmas.

Personnel: Bill Barner: clarinet; Stan Smith: guitar; Roger Hines: bass; Danny Aguiar: drums.

Title: Ten Tunes | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Ancestros CD/LP/Track Review
Ancestros
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Bitter Suite CD/LP/Track Review
The Bitter Suite
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 18, 2018
Read Ornettiquette CD/LP/Track Review
Ornettiquette
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Astral Revelations CD/LP/Track Review
The Astral Revelations
by John Sharpe
Published: November 18, 2018
Read The Sound Of The Earth CD/LP/Track Review
The Sound Of The Earth
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2018
Read Return to the Future CD/LP/Track Review
Return to the Future
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 17, 2018
Read "That's Right!" CD/LP/Track Review That's Right!
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 29, 2018
Read "Leading The British Invasion" CD/LP/Track Review Leading The British Invasion
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 30, 2017
Read "Hugo Fattoruso Y Barrio Opa" CD/LP/Track Review Hugo Fattoruso Y Barrio Opa
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: July 28, 2018
Read "Influences" CD/LP/Track Review Influences
by Don Phipps
Published: February 17, 2018
Read "The Chicago Blues Box 2" CD/LP/Track Review The Chicago Blues Box 2
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 9, 2017
Read "Climbing Trees" CD/LP/Track Review Climbing Trees
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 12, 2018