Musician? Boost Your Visibility at All About Jazz

Upgrade your AAJ musician page from standard to premium and make your presence felt!

Maximize your visibility at All About Jazz by upgrading your musician page from standard to premium. With it, you'll receive All About Jazz home page exposure, a highly stylized / ad-free musician page with bonus features and benefits, an ad, plus you control where you sell your music and so much more.
Learn More
450

Uri Caine Ensemble: The Othello Syndrome

Martin Longley BY

Sign in to view read count
Uri Caine Ensemble: The Othello Syndrome
Addressing the output of classical composers seems eventually to have become the dominant thrust of keyboardist Uri Caine's work. Schumann, Wagner, Bach, Beethoven and Mahler have fallen to sometimes radical re-posturing of their grand scores. Caine messes with the old assumed interpretations, deliberately distorting the usual expectations of performance by inserting elements of jazz, rock, funk, soul, blues, hip hop and electronica, always utilizing a cast of players from a broad range of backgrounds.

Now, it's a Verdi mash-up. Othello is similarly dissected, analyzed, reshuffled and responded to, making an opera that could possibly possess appeal among the united front of opera-loathers. The expected schizophrenic changes ensue, quite like a lyrically marshmallowed John Zorn. Or like a house-trained Frank Zappa. Or even like a Hal Willner project from Beyondsville. This work debuted at the 2003 Venice Biennale and was mostly recorded two years later, aside from the odd overdubbed drop-in.

Caine seeks grandiloquent melodrama one moment, komic kapering vaudeville the next. He preserves the pomp, but also sets off the pearl necklace detonators at the soiree. His vocalists arrive from diverse zones: Bunny Sigler (Philly soul on the Met stage), Dhafer Youssef (taking Moorish flight), Sadiq Bey (rap-poetic toughness), Josefine Lindstrand (ethereal balladry), Marco Paolini (Italian theatricality) and Julie Patton (cooled narration). Musicians include Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Zach Danziger (drums), Joyce Hammann (violin), Nguyen Le (guitar), Tim Lefebvre (bass), Stefano Bassanese and Bruno Fabrizio Sorba (electronics), although several more are on-hand for guest appearances.

Prog posturing creams up against lounge soul, then Caine runs his pianistic rivers like Oscar Peterson, but the interleavings usually keep to separate songs rather than co-existing in a smeared slide of seamless development. Bey wins out in the voice battles, as wiry as Sigler is soft. The channel-hopping frenzy is tightly controlled, but emits an air of looseness and chaos. The only problem is that even admirers of tiny-attention-span event-packed sounds might get lost amidst this style-shuffling maximalist phantasmagoria. Each time something engaging happens, Caine is already traipsing off to the next highly-orchestrated collision. This is a work to be admired within the head, but it provokes a sense of coitus interruptus down below.

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.

Album information

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

Post a comment about this album

Tags

View events near New York City
Jazz Near New York City
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Local Businesses | More...

Shop Amazon

More

Open World
Chad Lefkowitz-Brown and the Global Big Band
Fake Dudes
Magnet Animals
Within Us
Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge
Yellow
Emma-Jean Thackray
Live!
Chick Corea Akoustic Band
Distant Voices
David Janeway

Popular

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.