Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

193

David Bixler and Arturo O'Farrill: The Auction Project

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Altoist and composer David Bixler leads The Auction Project, with Grammy-winning pianist Arturo O'Farrill, who has described this album as being "very much about colliding cultures." This may slightly overstate things but the album does represent what is, for jazz, a rather unusual meeting of cultures.

Half of The Auction Project is devoted to Bixler's compositions, while the other half features tunes from the folk canon of the British Isles—the island of Ireland in particular. The key musician on these tunes is violinist Heather Martin Bixler; her playing is technically skilful and, while she does not have the spark of magic to be found in fiddlers like Dave Swarbrick, her playing does reflect a clear love of the music.

"She Moves Through the Fair" is probably the best-known of the folk tunes. As with many traditional tunes, there is debate about its origins—the words were likely written by Irish poet Padraic Colum, and musicologist Herbert Hughes may have written the melody rather than simply collecting it. It's been recorded many times—most notably in beautiful genre-fusing versions by folk-rock pioneers Fairport Convention and seminal guitarist Davey Graham. It's even been covered, somewhat blandly, by Wayne Shorter, on Alegria (Verve, 2003). Martin Bixler plays with empathy, while saxophonist Bixler and O'Farrill's chords help to emphasize the story's inherent mystery.

"The Chicken Went to Scotland" begins cheerfully, Martin Bixler adding a touch of syncopation to her playing that gives the tune an added lift, but O'Farrill's opening chords disrupt this mood and the tune soon loses its early cheer. "Banish Misfortune" and "Heather's Waltz Part 2" are more successful; the violinist reflecting an understanding of the tunes' emotional qualities. O'Farrill's delicate accompaniment on "Heather's Waltz" is light and refreshing, while he moves beautifully between this folk-style accompaniment and his more familiar, percussive, Latin style on "Banish Misfortune."

Bixler writes sweet, reflective tunes, played with great delicacy by the band. "Green Target," inspired by a Jasper Johns painting, features a lyrical and thoughtful Bixler solo, with empathic backing from O'Farrill and bassist Carlo Derosa. "Green Target—Take 2" is, unsurprisingly, a second take of the tune, with different solos, Martin Bixler's violin giving both takes a slightly disturbing feel.

"Worth Dying For" is stunning: Bixler plays a slow, intense and lovely alto part, backed only by Vince Cherico's sparse tom toms and cymbals. The tune stands out from the others in its style, mood and arrangement—a very emotive and personal performance.

The idea of "colliding cultures" suggests some fractured, explosive—even destructive—music but, in fact, The Auction Project is an altogether gentler affair. The cultures meet and interact on friendly terms: sometimes keeping a respectful distance; sometimes getting up close and personal. A dance, rather than a collision.

Track Listing: June 26th, 07; The Chicken Went To Scotland; Green Target; She Moves Through The Fair; Banish Misfortune; Heather's Waltz Part 1: O'Farrill's Welcome To Limerick, The Arragh Mountains; Heather's Waltz Part 2: Gan Aithne; Heptagonesque; Worth Dying For; Green Target--Take 2.

Personnel: David Bixler: alto saxophone; Arturo O'Farrill: piano; Heather Martin Bixler: violin; Carlo Derosa: bass; Vince Cherico: drums; Roland Guerrero: percussion.

Title: The Auction Project | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Zoho Music

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Take Five With...
Album Reviews
Take Five With...
Album Reviews
Read more articles

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jun6Thu
David Bixler
Birdland
New York, NY
$30

Related Articles

Read Caldera / Sky Islands Album Reviews
Caldera / Sky Islands
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 25, 2019
Read Baby, Please Come Home Album Reviews
Baby, Please Come Home
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019
Read Reckless Heart Album Reviews
Reckless Heart
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019
Read Fire Brigade Album Reviews
Fire Brigade
By Phillip Woolever
May 25, 2019
Read Day to Day Album Reviews
Day to Day
By Paul Naser
May 24, 2019
Read Theia Album Reviews
Theia
By Jim Worsley
May 24, 2019