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!

229

Gratkowski / Brown / Winant: Wake

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
This is a remarkably simpatico trio. The evidence is all over this program in terms of deft musical touches and the deep listening of all three members. Even in the most animated passages the music never descends into mere chaos, and there is an underlying logic which just might lie closer to the heart of musical expression than any creation of chaos for its own sake.

The sonic palette of the instrumentation is exploited to the full. On the opening "Slide" everything is lively, yet measured at one and the same time, with Frank Gratkowski's clarinet and bass clarinet hinting at Viennese Formalism in places, even while he revels in the moment. William Winant's percussive touch is alert to the demands of the moment while Chris Brown's piano merely hints at bombast when it's not mocking the very idea.

The arguably perennial issue of silence is to the fore on the following "Ambitus," where in the opening passage Brown and Gratkowski tease with it by mutual consent as small sounds come up out of nothing like a blunt instrument pushing against fabric. Brown's electronics serve to take the ambiance outside of the known world while his piano, seemingly grounded in it by way of compensation, provides random interjections. Where the music is more lively it's with a collective eye on something greater but tantalizingly distant; Gratkowski's clarinet in certain passages takes on the role of a focal point for all of its entirely singular logic.

If "Scrabble" has any wordy implications than they reference a highly individual vocabulary. The smallest sounds inevitably come out of nothing, although in this case the listener might almost be both intruder and outsider so personal is the music in its evolution. That said, there's nothing forbidding about the proceedings. At all times this is music that holds the attention, even while it makes demands of the listener.

Those demands are always welcome, and on the closing "Archipelago" it sounds as though the trio is fully appreciative of that. Again the music is in thrall to the moment, even while it's outside the measure of time. As such, the very sounds they produce celebrate that passing moment despite they're being a passionate denial of it. If it is the case that music as a means for organizing time is a plausible one, than these three individuals are appreciative of the idea that music is far greater than the sum of its parts.


Track Listing: Slide; Ambitus; Scrabble; Parallax; Archipelago.

Personnel: Frank Gratkowski: clarinet, bass clarinet, alto sax; Chris Brown: piano, live electronics; William Winant: vibes, percussion.

Title: Wake | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Red Toucan Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by John Sharpe
Published: December 14, 2017
Read I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Celebrating William Parker at 65 CD/LP/Track Review Celebrating William Parker at 65
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Eternal Life CD/LP/Track Review Eternal Life
by Jerome Wilson
Published: December 14, 2017
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 "Landed in Brooklyn" CD/LP/Track Review Landed in Brooklyn
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "Two Of A Kind" CD/LP/Track Review Two Of A Kind
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Looking Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Looking Forward
by Geannine Reid
Published: September 6, 2017
Read "Mist. Moss. Home." CD/LP/Track Review Mist. Moss. Home.
by Jim Olin
Published: April 10, 2017
Read "Sing Me Some Cry" CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by John Sharpe
Published: December 6, 2017
Read "Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter" CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 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!