Exposé Online banner

Bobby Previte — Mass
(RareNoise RNR072, 2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-06-18

Mass Cover art

Even the non-Catholics among music fans are likely familiar with the structure of a mass, having listened to musical settings for the ritual dating back to the time of J.S. Bach or even earlier. Many modern composers have added their interpretations, including such progressive rock efforts as The Electric Prunes’ Mass in F, Yatha Sidra’s A Meditation Mass, Eela Craig’s Missa Universalis, Roman Stolyar’s Missa Apocryph, and Zaboitzeff’s Missa Furiosa, to name a few. A little Googling tells me that numerous composers have tackled the form in jazz, though I can’t say I’m familiar with any. Noted avant-jazz drummer Bobby Previte tosses his hat into the ring with this release, and to a certain degree it straddles the jazz and rock styles, as you might expect if you’re familiar with his work. Previte describes the work as “a modernist re-imagining of the choral epic Missa Sancti Jacobi by 15th century composer Guillaume Dufay,” and the arrangements feature the Rose Ensemble of 11 singers along with Previte (drums, guitar, organ), Reed Mathis (electric bass), Jamie Saft and Stephen O'Malley (both guitar), and Marco Benevento (organ). There are times where you could believe that the voices are singing the original parts, but other times have the melodies adapted for the instruments in various combinations. The opening section of the “Kyrie,” for example, is played solo on the bass. In other places, Previte takes a phrase from the original and turns it into a heavy riff, as in the “Gloria.” “Alleluia” takes yet another approach, seeming to take the vocal parts for the original and giving the instruments aggressive rhythmic parts to punctuate them. Whatever the arrangement strategy, the result is stunning throughout the suite, a truly original creation that sustains interest both with the intelligence of the design and the quality of the execution. Any accusations of bombast or over-indulgence can be countered with the simple observation that it’s a Mass — it’s supposed to be impressive and bombastic. The music works on its own outside of any religious context, never seeming like a gimmick, even when it sounds like a Medieval choir backed by Black Sabbath.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Bobby Previte, Jamie Saft

More info
http://bobbyprevite.bandcamp.com/album/mass-2

Latest news

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Bubu - Anabelas – This is an excellent album, featuring mature composition, great group playing, and a very nice sense of dynamics and texture. There is an intensity to this music which is controlled beautifully over...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues