Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

266

Three with Chris Speed/Skirl Records: Big Choantza; Smell The Difference; Esopus Opus

By

Sign in to view read count








The New Mellow Edwards
Big Choantza
Skirl Records
2009


Tyft
Smell The Difference
Skirl Records
2009


Ben Perowsky Quartet
Esopus Opus
Skirl Records
2009


Since founding Skirl Records in 2006, saxophonist Chris Speed still hasn't led a project for the label. But that hasn't diminished his instrumental contributions to it. His distinct tenor and clarinet are integral to the latest Skirl crop, illuminating his range as a player and the broad eclecticism of the label.

Big Choantza is the second installment from trombonist Curtis Hasselbring's The New Mellow Edwards, with Speed, bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer John Hollenbeck. The music casually veers between song forms and textural soundscapes—sometimes within the same piece. On "First Loser," suspenseful clarinet and trombone lines float over a languidly staggering feel, the bowed bass reminiscent of tuba, before a sparser section evolves for Hasselbring's loquacious turn. The hyper-tight frenzy of "Helkakelka, Helkakelka" dissolves into the frontline's impressionistic extended effects. Clarinet and trombone play complementary rhythmic phrases over the insistent bass groove of "Sacks on the Beach," before Speed appropriately switches to tenor for a spirited concluding shot. Buzzes and drones strain harmony on the atmospheric "Annoying Guy," until Hollenbeck establishes order. Hasselbring blends formal compositional and rock-pop influences and humor permeates the music without feeling contrived.

Speed and trumpet-phenom Peter Evans are guests on Smell The Difference, the latest offering from guitarist Hilmar Jensson's Tyft with alto saxophonist Andrew D'Angelo and drummer Jim Black. Jensson has honed a metal-prov aesthetic; his crunching guitar constructs tight grooves with Black, often in odd-times, as serpentine three-horn unisons twist through. "Smell the Goodness" exemplifies this and boasts a formidable sax exchange, with dirge-like tenor contrasting darting alto bursts. D'Angelo's kazoo-like bleats pepper the kinetic flurry of "Froth," intensifying as tenor and trumpet join. Horns pop over the crackling odd-metered guitar and bashing drums of "Kryppa," Jensson's angularity eliciting a call-and-response between D'Angelo's bass clarinet and Speed's clarinet during the bridge. The swirling intro of "Flimbergeist" morphs into car-alarm blares then erupts with a frenetic sax debate and rhythmic urgency, eventually dissipating for Evans' freestyle. Jensson finally eases back with the smoldering, sustained tones of the concluding "Klinglet."

Drummer Ben Perowsky breezily mixes jazz, rock and traditional idioms on his Skirl debut, Esopus Opus. Speed is the primary melodic voice, with accordionist Ted Reichman providing chordal support and bassist Drew Gress completing the quartet. Perowsky's rakish swagger propels the gutbucket opener "Key Lime," with Speed's tenor digging into its swanky vamp. Speed's clarinet takes the 'vocal' on the Hendrix classic "Manic Depression," hitting siren-like cries in solo before the leader's gregarious embellishments. The clarinet/accordion combination evokes a Middle Eastern flavor, transforming The Beatles' Indian-inspired classic "Within You, Without You." They spar on Perowsky's taut, quick-hitting title tune while his "Murnau on the Bayou" has a funky Cajun mood for Gress' slick solo. The drummer dances and prods the quartet with skittering chops for two Brazilian covers and returns home to conjure a mysterious vibe for the subtly unfolding "Red Hook."


Tracks and Personnel

Big Choantza

Tracks: Big Choantza; First Loser; Helkakelka, Helkakelka; Sacks on the Beach; Large Detective; Annoying Guy; Youth Against Fascism; Good Job; Backfat Vs. Fumi.

Personnel: Curtis Hasselbring: trombone; Chris Speed: clarinet and tenor saxophone; Trevor Dunn: acoustic bass; John Hollenbeck: drums and percussion.

Smell The Difference

Tracks: Smell the Goodness; Froth; Pittles; Kryppa; Klondike; Flimbergeist; Clifton; Klinglet.

Personnel: Hilmar Jensson: guitars; Andrew D'Angelo: alto saxophone, bass clarinet; Jim Black: drums; Chris Speed: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Peter Evans: trumpet; Joel Hamilton: electronics (4).

Esopus Opus

Tracks: Key Lime; Manic Depression; Within You Without You; Esopus Opus; Perolas; Nem Um Talvez; Flying; Murnau on the Bayou; Present Distance; Red Hook.

Personnel: Chris Speed: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Ben Perowsky: drums; Drew Gress: bass; Ted Reichman: accordion.

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
General Articles
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Live From Philadelphia
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Platinum on Tap

Platinum on Tap

Skirl Records
2017

buy
Really OK

Really OK

Skirl Records
2014

buy
 

September

Cuneiform Records
2013

buy
 

Lamaçal

Clean Feed Records
2013

buy

Upcoming Shows

Related Articles

Read 3x3: Piano Trios, vol. V Multiple Reviews
3x3: Piano Trios, vol. V
By Geno Thackara
May 18, 2019
Read Bill Evans and Wes Montgomery: Masters At Work Multiple Reviews
Bill Evans and Wes Montgomery: Masters At Work
By Doug Collette
May 17, 2019
Read The Sounds of Saxophones Multiple Reviews
The Sounds of Saxophones
By Jerome Wilson
April 26, 2019
Read Alex Chilton: Roots In The Sky Multiple Reviews
Alex Chilton: Roots In The Sky
By Doug Collette
April 20, 2019
Read Piano in Solitude Multiple Reviews
Piano in Solitude
By Geno Thackara
April 14, 2019
Read Graham Parker: Sparks Keep Flying! Multiple Reviews
Graham Parker: Sparks Keep Flying!
By Doug Collette
April 13, 2019