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!

424

The Uri Caine Ensemble: The Othello Syndrome

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Uri Caine, in his own unique way, surveyed music from the Classical era with The Classical Variations (Winter & Winter, 2008) and The Plays Mozart (Winter & Winter, 2007). Caine moves both forward to Late Romantic Opera and back, picking up from Wagner in Venezia (Winter & Winter, 1997), with The Othello Syndrome. The disc title is a play on two things: the Giuseppe Verdi Opera Othello (1887) and the common name for delusional jealousy, both after the Shakespeare protagonist. The musical result here is a wild ride in a fast machine.

All of these musical and literary allusions would make this recording almost too rich to be heard. Couple this intelligence with a cast of the hippest musicians performing, including trumpeter Ralph Alessi, super-guitarist Nguyê Lê, and clarinetist Chris Speed and the experience is like adding a pat of butter to a bowl of cream chowder. But this is all good. Uri Caine has defined his corner of jazz to a point that he has no peer and that corner is ever fascinating and endlessly revealing and entertaining.

It is useful, but not necessary, to have at least listened to the Verdi opera. Caine deftly extracts Verdi's essence and casts it as he has previously with the music of Mahler on Gustav Mahler in Toblach, Bach on The Goldberg Variations, and Beethoven on Diabelli Variations. The pianist adds his own essence in the form of Jewish/European folk instrumentation and performance. The effect is as delightful here as on his previous recordings. Clarinetists Speed and Achille Succi provide the Klezmer flavor, while Lê adds the modern, rock opera ambiance, particularly the opening "Othello's Victory" and "Drinking Song."

Caine adds a bit of free association with "Fire Song," allowing the piece to fall into a silent movie soundtrack mode. The piece is closely composed and arranged. The "Love Duet with Othello" begins as a thoughtful vocalese, with gospel and Americana elements, and "Iago's Credo" is cast as a recitative that dissembles into competing voices expressing any number of delightful vulgarities and nihilistic dreams. In short, The Othello Syndrome is Uri Caine at his mad scientist best: conjuring music from a million different places and making it sound like it was with you at home all the time.


Track Listing: Othello's Victory; Fire Song; Drinking Song; Love Duet with Othello and Desdemona; Introduction to Act II; Iago's Credo; She's the only one I love; Iago's Web Desdemona's Lament; Am I a Fool?; The Lion of Venice; Othello's Confession; The Willow Song/Ave Maria; Murder; The Death of Othello.

Personnel: Ralph Alessi: trumpet; Stefano Bassanese: electronics; Sadiq Bey: voice; Jim Black: drums; Uri Caine: piano, keyboards; Zach Danziger; drums; Joyce Hammann: violin; John Hebert: acoustic bass; Nguyên Lê: guitar; Tim Lefebvre: acoustic and electric bass; Josefine Lindstrand: vocals; Marco Paolini: voice; Julie Patton: voice; Bunny Sigler: vocals; Brundo Fabrizio Sorba; electronics; Chris Speed: clarinet; Achille Succi: clarinet; Dhafer Youssef: vocals.

Title: The Othello Syndrome | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Winter & Winter


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Lavaman CD/LP/Track Review Lavaman
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 32 CD/LP/Track Review Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 32
by Don Phipps
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Stinger" CD/LP/Track Review Stinger
by Joe Gatto
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Rising Tide" CD/LP/Track Review Rising Tide
by Geannine Reid
Published: May 16, 2017
Read "Truth, Liberty & Soul Live in New York: The Complete NPR Jazz Alive! Recording" CD/LP/Track Review Truth, Liberty & Soul Live in New York: The Complete...
by John Kelman
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "Verisimilitude" CD/LP/Track Review Verisimilitude
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 6, 2017
Read "Get 'Em" CD/LP/Track Review Get 'Em
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Najwa" CD/LP/Track Review Najwa
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 30, 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!