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...

382

Uri Caine: The Classical Variations

By

Sign in to view read count
The Classical Variations is, in effect, a commemoration of Uri Caine's decade-long series of ambitious and sometimes idiosyncratic explorations of classical repertoire from Bach to Mahler. It combines previously released selections from Caine's Winter & Winter CDs along with unreleased material. A little more than half the material has appeared in previous releases focused on Beethoven, Mozart, Schumann, Wagner and Mahler, while the unreleased, generally recent, material focuses on Bach, Mahler and Verdi.

The selection immediately makes apparent the breadth and scale of Caine's work, drawing on musicians from baroque specialists Quartetto Italiano di Viole da Gamba (for two new Goldberg variations) to turntablist DJ Logic (another new Bach variation) with everything that might be described as in between: classical choirs, gospel singers, poets and post-bop jazz bands. Part of Caine's success comes from his profound understanding of his material, its internal dynamics and elasticity (eg, "The Desdemona Variation" on Verdi's Othello with singer Josefine Lindstrand and a jazz quartet). That may account for the sensitivity and intelligence of much of this music.

What counts for more, though, is Caine's wit and his developed sense of the creative collision. You get it in "Only Love Beauty," in which divergent notions of the spiritual in music arise in the contrasting pitch inflections of Barbara Walker and the Kettwiger Bach Ensemble. It's there too in the rambunctious stride piano of "The Fats Variation," a Waller-esque take on Bach, or in the almost hypothetical account of Mozart's "Turkish Rondo," pushing it into a raw, modal, middle Eastern-flavored group improvisation.

Caine's variations are as apt to restore an original melodic grace as to deconstruct historical context, liberating the music in the exercise of his own freedom. While this is likeliest to serve as an introduction to his varied classical projects, there's enough new material here to appeal to the committed.

Track Listing: Only Love Beauty [after Mahler]; Variation XXXII [after Beethoven, Diabelli Variations]; Variation XXXIII [after Beethoven, Diabelli Variations]; Variation 10 for Fortepiano and Viola da Gamba Quartet [after Bach, Goldberg Variations]; H

Personnel: Uri Caine: piano; Barbara Walker: vocals; Mark Ledford: vocals; David Moss: vocals; Josefine Lindstrand: vocals; Kettwiger Bach Ensemble: choir; Wolfgang Kl

Title: The Classical Variations | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Winter & Winter

Tags

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.

Related Articles

Read When Will The Blues Leave Album Reviews
When Will The Blues Leave
By Karl Ackermann
May 22, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Dan Bilawsky
May 22, 2019
Read Infinite Itinerant Album Reviews
Infinite Itinerant
By Geno Thackara
May 22, 2019
Read Pulcino Album Reviews
Pulcino
By Nicholas F. Mondello
May 22, 2019
Read Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances Album Reviews
Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances
By Dan McClenaghan
May 21, 2019
Read That's a Computer Album Reviews
That's a Computer
By Jerome Wilson
May 21, 2019
Read All I Do Is Bleed Album Reviews
All I Do Is Bleed
By Paul Naser
May 21, 2019