Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers 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!

223

Beppe Crovella: What’s Rattlin’ On The Moon? A Personal Vision Of The Music Of Mike Ratledge.

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
The sub-title makes all the difference here. Mike Ratledge was a key member of all the most worthwhile line-ups of Soft Machine, but alone amongst the quartet that consisted of himself, Elton Dean, Hugh Hopper and Robert Wyatt, he didn't go on to develop a solo career once he left the band. This and the passing of time, have had the effect of setting a seal on his music, but Italian composer/keyboardist/producer, Beppe Crovella has not only broken it, he's also opened Ratledge's music to an unprecedented level of scrutiny.

Crovella wisely doesn't try to reproduce Ratledge's sonic palette. Instead, he opts for teasing out the music's less obvious qualities. On "Chloe and the Pirates," this takes the form of highlighting the composer's sly melodic sense even while quasi-ambient notions come to the fore in a manner that was never a hallmark of his work.

This impression is due in part to the fact that Crovella utilizes a mellotron, perhaps the keyboard instrument furthest removed from Ratledge's sonic palette, on "Tarabos." He indulges his penchant for deconstruction on this one too, and the results are mighty effective in the way they highlight how the music can withstand not merely the personal vision but also the wholesale re-imagining.

Crovella knows his history too. "Pig" fades in like some of those vintage Soft Machine performances there's now an abundance of on record, and he goes on to flirt with the relatively faceless fusion that the band peddled in their later incarnations. This however is his prerogative. For all the surface histrionics there's still a fearsome intelligence at work, one which is permissive of only minimal self-indulgence.

The sly humor of the reworking of "Esther's Nose Job" marks the attitude of a man who's drunk deeply from the well. The almost defiant electricity of Ratledge's playing is perhaps willfully subverted here by an acoustic piano interlude that happily stays well clear of the cocktail lounge before the mellotron rears again, giving rise to impressions of the mock epic at odds with Ratledge's playing.

This however is counter-balanced by Crovella's own music, which is no mere outgrowth of Ratledge's. "Moon Geezers (to Elton & Hugh) is as gentle a homage as one could wish for, but in the looking back it implies Crovella isn't circumspect about simultaneously mapping out his own territory. The potentially sterile is thus avoided with aplomb.


Track Listing: Tarabos; Chloe And The Pirates; All White; The Man Who Waved At Trains; As If; Hibou, Anemone And Bear; Out-bloody-rageous; Pig; Esther's Nose Job; Slightly All The Time; Leonardo's email; Moon Vision; Many Moons, Many Junes; Lunar Impression; Circular Lines In The Air; Moon Geezers (to Elton & Hugh).

Personnel: Beppe Crovella: organ, piano, electric piano, clavinet, mellotron.

Title: What’s Rattlin’ On The Moon? A Personal Vision Of The Music Of Mike Ratledge. | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Moonjune Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Vertical CD/LP/Track Review Vertical
by Don Phipps
Published: January 16, 2018
Read In Stride CD/LP/Track Review In Stride
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Solid Gold CD/LP/Track Review Solid Gold
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Ts'iibil Chaaltun CD/LP/Track Review Ts'iibil Chaaltun
by Don Phipps
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "Trickster" CD/LP/Track Review Trickster
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Rendering" CD/LP/Track Review Rendering
by Mark Christian Miller
Published: December 27, 2017
Read "Stinger" CD/LP/Track Review Stinger
by Joe Gatto
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Ockeghem Octets" CD/LP/Track Review Ockeghem Octets
by John Eyles
Published: July 14, 2017
Read "Marseille" CD/LP/Track Review Marseille
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 26, 2017
Read "Organ Monk Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk Blue
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 13, 2018