Wayne Horvitz has always succeeded in being an unclassifiable master, his music bordering the worlds of jazz, rock, experimental, and contemporary classical. With these two releases come two sides to the multifaceted pianist/keyboardist.
Horvitz/Samworth/Lee/Clarke/van der Schyff
With Intersection Poems, Horvitz collaborates for the first time with the Vancouver-based quartet Talking Pictures. The one-time prime Downtown NYCer, now Seattle-based, Horvitz experiments with the interactive sound of three strings (guitarist Ron Samworth, cellist Peggy Lee, and himself on piano), brass (trumpeter Bill Clarke), and percussion (drummer Dylan van der Schyff). Van der Schyff's percussive approach spreads out each and every piece with understated rhythms and small instrument effects and, with Clark's sometimes long and un-brassy lines, the collective moves frequently as if a string quintet.
Many of the seven tracks seem dedicated to a different or altering protagonist. The opening track ("Merge a la Gauche ) finds Horvitz's mood-inducing single notes on piano sonically overlapped by cello, trumpet, guitar, and cymbal effects. The minimalist approach continues"Elk Crossing can be heard as a duo of piano (performed inside and out) and percussion, when in actuality all participants are centrally involved in venturesome understatement. Lee, an unheralded player, continues to help the instrument's notoriety in jazz. She leads the way through the title track, accompanied by multiple treble piano notes and high-pitched cymbal effects reacting to her warm yet mysterious arco.
The sound and mix is top-notch, allowing the listener to really hear the full range of spatial and textural contributions. The dark reverberating piano clusters by Horvitz will shake you to the core in "Children At Play ; "Begin Two Way is celebratory, assisting the magical crack of a morning dawn; "...When Amber Flashing starts in your face, gradually backs off, moving further and further, winding up in a land of contemplation with its less rhythmic legato lines. Sit squarely between the speakers for this adventure and buckle your seat belts. You are most certainly going places.
Wayne Horvitz's Sweeter Than The Day
Live at the Rendezvous, Seattle 2004
On Live, Horvitz's Sweeter Than the Day group performs jazz that's more rooted in Americana than oriented toward contemporary classical. Formed in the late '90s, the acoustic alter-ego of his electric Zony Mash (same personnel) finds the leader again on piano. It offers a more melancholic, almost controlled side to Horvitz and his band. The group as a whole lightly swings through catchy melodies and extended pieces. Their understated improvisations never overwhelm, making this live double disc an ideal introduction to Horvitz, especially for jam band followers. More for coming down than outright foot-tapping and twirling, guitarist Timothy Young's electric guitar's volume never wanders above midway point and Andy Roth's drumming is usually via brushes, Keith Lowe's bass supplying a consistent pulse underneath them all.
Tracks and Personnel
Personnel: Wayne Horvitz: piano; Ron Samworth: guitar; Peggy Lee: cello; Bill Clarke: trumpet; Dylan van der Schyff: drums.
Tracks: CD 1: Waltz from the Oven; Prepaid Funeral; Ben''s Music; Capricious Midnight; Inference; Ironbound; In One Time and Another; In the Ballroom. CD 2: Julians'' Ballad; Love; Love; Love; Disingenous Firefight; Forever; Diggin'' Bones; In the Lounge ; Casey Jones; LTMBBQ.
Personnel: Wayne Horvitz: piano, Andy Roth: drums, Keith Lowe: bass, Tim Young: guitar.