This is an impressive record composed of ten improvised tracks whose titles are inspired by the work of Paul Klee. Klee, a Swiss cubist painter, may be relatively unknownas is gifted guitarist David Tronzoand what the artfully omitted subordinate clause of the album's first track might say is unclear, but it's helpful to know the first, important to know the second and hopelessly imperative to know the latter.
Although there are several tracks that have bits that sound like hesitant drumming, there are two tracks that actually name-drop the instrument in their titles, "Amateur Drummer" and "Light Drum Roll." "Amateur Drummer" is a clever, chromatic track. It begins with the tempered crescendo of a storm, erupting into an angry, grungy bit. There are dissonances throughout, but these work because there is a certain braveness about allowing the music to take form as it does, although there are moments where the trio pulls back to create structure. But there are no drums. We know this as listeners, because we know this album has no drums, because we see names of musicians whose relationship to instruments we know well, because we know these titles are less explanatory and more revelatory. But knowing all this makes it no less satisfying to hear, for example, Giacomo Merega's beautiful bass notes sound like a drumming heartbeat. Merega, in fact, accompanies Tronzo with apparent ease and dexterity and the chameleonic quality of his playing matches Tronzo's throughout the record. Noah Kaplan's saxophone plays a less radical role, but it is meditative and elegiac, notably in "Rhythmic Landscape with Trees"; even when the sax is in the background, subdued, it communicates a wild tenderness that coaxes listeners to feel the encompassed emotional range. This is a record packed with background and metaphor, none with which the listener must be familiar, because the music within conveys a radiant emotionality.
Track Listing: Once Emerged in the Grey of Night; Amateur Drummer; Destruction and Hope; Red Balloon; Figire in the Garden; With theGreen Rectangle; Rhythmic Landscape with Trees; Light Drum Roll; Drawing with the Fermata; Chorale and Landscape.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.