206

Mark Feldman: What Exit

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Mark Feldman: What Exit Violin, viola and cello are among the last instruments from the traditional orchestra whose sound is fully accepted in modern jazz. (You can also add oboe and bassoon to the list.)

In the process of adaptation, some players of these instruments have distanced themselves from the orchestra. One modern jazz string exponent, Mat Maneri, plays the viola in such a way as to make one forget its classical orchestral origins, as evinced most recently on his collaborative Happening (Leo, 2006) with François Carrier. This "forgetting" happens in a number of ways including phrasing, but also the physical sound which he gets from the instrument. In other words, he happens to improvise on the viola (or violin) and just plays music.

This is not so with Mark Feldman. While he has played every imaginable style of music on his violin over the course of his career, he has been actively working to integrate the classical and jazz genres during the last twenty years. On ECM, he has worked with guitarist John Abercrombie and pianist Sylvie Courvoisier, but has recorded with many other players including John Zorn, Dave Douglas and Tim Berne.

His sound, which is tightly focused, but more importantly his gestures, rhythms, vibrato and phrasing draw very strongly from the classical side of things. His improvisations, while not rhythmically simplistic, emphasize vertical rather than horizontal rhythm, while the phrases tend to follow the harmonic changes.

If this description sounds off-putting, forget it, because the compositions on What Exit can be very exciting and quite unpredictable. The other members of the band are superb, and their presence allows Feldman to stay on the free classical/jazz side of things without drifting into the pure classical arena. The clash of musical genres is really what this record is about.

Of the supporting trio, bassist Anders Jormin and pianist John Taylor will be familiar to ECM followers. Both are very precise players who nevertheless unequivocally play jazz. Drummer Tom Rainey has been playing with people like Tim Berne, Tom Varner and Kenny Werner since 1990 or so. Feldman's sectional, rapidly rhythmically shifting compositions give him no trouble, and he can shift from subtle implication to hard-driving statements in a flash.

Feldman's compositions of What Exit vary widely, but their overall ethos is represented by the opening 22-minute track, "Arcade." Starting with exciting cymbal work from Rainey, Jormin joins in with a theme and the tension starts building; we wonder when things will explode. Feldman enters with a repeated single-note figure as Taylor jabs dark dense chords. However, the driving beginning becomes an introduction to a sectional piece.

The other pieces share this sectional feel. "Maira Nunes" is the most normal rhythmically. The clash of the classical and jazz impulses is, however, always there, and it makes for an exciting ride given Feldman's style.

Track Listing: Arcade; Father Demo Square; Everafter (in memory of David H. Baker); Ink Pin; Elegy; Maria Nuñes; Cadence; What Exit.

Personnel: Mark Feldman: violin; John Taylor: piano; Anders Jormin: bass; Tom Rainey: drums.

Title: What Exit | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Unnatural  Events CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Clean CD/LP/Track Review Clean
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2017
Read Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations CD/LP/Track Review Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "05:21" CD/LP/Track Review 05:21
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 28, 2016
Read "Piano Song" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: January 19, 2017
Read "From the Nocturnal Chironian" CD/LP/Track Review From the Nocturnal Chironian
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 14, 2017
Read "Moon Trio: Earth-Time" CD/LP/Track Review Moon Trio: Earth-Time
by Marithe Van der Aa
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "Lacy Pool_2" CD/LP/Track Review Lacy Pool_2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 14, 2017
Read "But Wait… There’s More! / Live 2017" CD/LP/Track Review But Wait… There’s More! / Live 2017
by Roger Weisman
Published: June 9, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.