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 The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read The Chase CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Paint CD/LP/Track Review Paint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 16, 2017
Read A Pouting Grimace CD/LP/Track Review A Pouting Grimace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 15, 2017
Read Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis CD/LP/Track Review Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "PausaLive" CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "New Spring - Live At The Village Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review New Spring - Live At The Village Vanguard
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 8, 2016
Read "Anti-Hero" CD/LP/Track Review Anti-Hero
by Mike Jacobs
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "Tribute to Andrezej Przybielski Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Tribute to Andrezej Przybielski Vol. 1
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "Do Not Go Gently" CD/LP/Track Review Do Not Go Gently
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds" CD/LP/Track Review Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 6, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.