Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

109

William Roper, Francis Wong & Elliot Humberto Kavee: The Lament Of Absalom

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
The tuba is an often-misunderstood instrument, especially within jazz circles. However, skilled artists such as William Roper and Howard Johnson to cite but a few, have made great strides incorporating this bulky and almost comical looking instrument into the jazz forefront. Roper has made quite a name for himself performing or recording with Yusef Lateef, Anthony Braxton, Dizzy Gillespie, Vinny Golia and numerous others. A true virtuoso who displays phenomenal technique, Roper along with fellow modern jazz explorers Francis Wong (woodwinds) and Elliot Humberto Kavee (drums, cello) entrench themselves in alluring dialogue and improvisation.

The stage is set on the opener, “Wednesday Afternoon, South Park” as a “call and response” dialogue ensues between tenor saxophonist Francis Wong and William Roper’s fleet-fingered phrasing and articulations. On this piece and throughout, the gifted drummer-percussionist and cellist, Elliot Humberto Kavee maintains the pulse through low-key yet purposeful manipulations behind his kit. Wong and Roper allow themselves plenty of space for development and dialogue. On “Kilimanjaro”, Kavee performs behind the drum kit while simultaneously playing the cello. Needless to state this project was recorded live in the studio and Kavee should be commended for his ability to multi-task! On many of these tracks, Kavee supplies the undercurrent and steady pace via his hi-hat cymbals, which affords him the ability to utilize his cello and provide the necessary tonal color and accents. “Preparations For The Conflagation” features unison lines by Wong and Roper, which like most, if not all of these tracks digresses into lively exchanges. Francis Wong utilizes his clarinet on “The Pilgrim’s Dance of Ecstacy” which counters Roper’s heavy bottom end tuba work. Here, Wong mixes it up with various themes, ethnocentric motifs and contemplative phrasing and lyricism. Wong’s flute work on “The Belly Of The Beast” offers additional tonal range, which again contrasts Roper’s robust yet dexterous ruminations on tuba.

The Lament Of Absalom provides the listener with a glimpse of the vast possibilities of the tuba when in the hands of a highly skilled technician and improviser. The interplay and creativity displayed by this trio sheds some new light on what some may perceive as being unorthodox instrumentation and off-center conceptual approaches. Roper and co. put forth fresh, invigorating ideas that may serve as indicators for the limitless possibilities in jazz, free-improv and music in general. The quest or thirst for innovation is a long-standing element within modern jazz and could be viewed as a component or parts of the sum, yet innovation is not everyone’s cup of tea. Here, Roper along with Wong and Kavee don't necessarily set the world afire with strikingly new musical concepts, yet simply maintain a direction or course which may help dispel notions that the tuba has no place in modern or improvised jazz. Recommended!! * * * *

North Country Distribution distributes The Lament Of Absalom

All compositions by Roper, Wong and Kavee


Personnel:

William Roper; Tuba, Percussion & Voice: Francis Wong; Tenor Sax, Clarinet & Flute: Elliot Humberto Kavee; Cello, Drums

Title: The Lament Of Absalom | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Asian Improv Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Copenhagen Live 1964 CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by John Sharpe
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Somewhere Glimmer CD/LP/Track Review Somewhere Glimmer
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by John Sharpe
Published: December 14, 2017
Read I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read "The Quest: Live at the A.P.C." CD/LP/Track Review The Quest: Live at the A.P.C.
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 14, 2017
Read "Awakening" CD/LP/Track Review Awakening
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 5, 2017
Read "Generations" CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "The Joy of Being" CD/LP/Track Review The Joy of Being
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 1, 2017
Read "Pathways" CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 30, 2017
Read "Six Easy Pieces" CD/LP/Track Review Six Easy Pieces
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 5, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!