216

Various Artists: The Music of Eric von Essen, Volume III

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Various Artists: The Music of Eric von Essen, Volume III As Cryptogramophone's three-volume tribute to the late Eric von Essen draws to a close, we find ourselves amazed at the diversity of players, styles, and moods coming together in his honor. Von Essen was not exactly a well-known player, but the large number of musicians assembled here testifies to the depth and impact of his music. (For the curious: Eric von Essen, bassist and composer, recorded four records with Quartet Music, a project with guitarist Nels Cline, violinist Jeff Gauthier, and drummer Alex Cline. He also freelanced in L.A., taught in Sweden, and composed constantly.) The tunes on this third installment, all von Essen compositions, feature careful attention to gently shifting changes and moods. The overall tone remains light and airy (with a couple of exceptions), rarely losing detail or interest.

The ten tunes on Volume III appear in several different configurations, from duet to quintet. The opener, "Blues for Me," stands as a blatant homage to the early years when von Essen worked in a duo setting with Nels Cline. In this case, Ken Filiano takes over the bass and allows Cline freedom to roam birdlike up top. The hard-driving bop of "Valse Agite" offers a bold contrast and features wonderfully emphatic bass playing by Darek Oles. Finally, the last eleven minutes of the record (the trio piece "Flicker and Burn") evolve from the introduction's quiet, understated piano and bass drum playing into dramatic cycles of crescendo and decrescendo.

Von Essen certainly wrote some interesting tunes, and the ten-pack here amply illustrates that fact. As with any collection of musicians this size, it's inevitable that some will be less inspiring than others. Not surprisingly, the players who were closest to the composer appear to have the greatest insight into his music. For example, guitarist Nels Cline (who appears on three tracks) stands head and shoulders above both of the guitarists who follow. But taken as a whole, this compilation marks one of the high points of this year's crop of jazz releases. It's honest, unpretentious, and inspired. (But beware the dynamic range, which can travel from whisper to shout quite dramatically.)

Visit Cryptogramophone on the web.


Track Listing: Blues for Me; Unresolved; Valse Agite; It's Just One Big Party; The Good Doctor; Norton's Last Words; Finska Flues; Another Moon; One Eye Laughs, One Eye Weeps; Flicker and Burn.

Personnel: Nels Cline: guitars; Ken Filiano: bass; Jeff Gauthier: violin; Michael Elizondo: bass; Alex Cline: drums, percussion; Chuck Manning: tenor saxophone; Theo Saunders: piano; Darek Oles: bass; Ralph Penland: drums; David Witham: guitar; Joel Hamilton: bass; Jeff Colella: piano; Putter Smith: bass; Jerry Kalaf: drums; Stacy Rowles: trumpet, flugelhorn; Tom Garvin: piano; Larry Koonse: electric guitar; Tom Warrington: bass; Paul Kreibich: drums; Kate McGarry: voice; Karen Hammack: piano; Steve Cardenas: electric guitar; Scott Colley: bass; Kenny Wollesen: drums, percussion; Alan Pasqua: piano; Dave Carpenter: bass; Peter Erskine: drums.

Title: The Music of Eric von Essen, Volume III | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Cryptogramophone


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roll On CD/LP/Track Review Roll On
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Pandora's Bag CD/LP/Track Review Pandora's Bag
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Float The Edge CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 25, 2017
Read The Attic CD/LP/Track Review The Attic
by John Sharpe
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Outside The Comfort Zone CD/LP/Track Review Outside The Comfort Zone
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Thick As Thieves" CD/LP/Track Review Thick As Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "Notes Over Poetry" CD/LP/Track Review Notes Over Poetry
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 11, 2017
Read "Such A Sky" CD/LP/Track Review Such A Sky
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Ella Lives" CD/LP/Track Review Ella Lives
by Chris Mosey
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "Riser" CD/LP/Track Review Riser
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Convergence" CD/LP/Track Review Convergence
by Mark F. Turner
Published: August 20, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!