Exposé Online banner

Bobby Previte — Rhapsody
(RareNoise RNR090, 2018, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-05-19

Rhapsody Cover art

As a composer, Bobby Previte has never shied away from ambition, and he appears to have never encountered a genre boundary he didn’t want to erase. In 2016, he gave us Mass, a Serious Work that blended classical liturgical music with rock and jazz, and now we have Rhapsody, which is part two of a trilogy begun with Terminals in 2014. I hadn’t heard Terminals, so I went to Bandcamp and gave it a whirl. It’s an instrumental work, a sort of mixed concerto where each of the five movements (four on the 2LP version) features a different soloist backed by the Sō Percussion ensemble. The theme of the music was “Departures,” though of course with instrumental music, it’s all in the impressions. Rhapsody concerns the next phase of travel, being “In Transit.” The chief change here is the presence of lyrics, sung by Jen Shyu, the first time Previte has written words to go with his music. And rather than a purely percussion basis for the arrangements, we have a sextet consisting of Previte (drums, percussion, guitar, harmonica), John Medesky (piano), Zeena Parkins (harp), Nels Cline (acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar, slide guitar), Fabian Rucker (alto sax), and Jen Shyu (vocals, erhu, piano). The nine tracks all feature varying sections, some of which are quite unexpected, and while the instrumentation (all acoustic) might imply a kind of chamber music, the reality is far from simple. At times, it’s very jazz-like. At other times, it might be called modern art music, the equivalent of classical lieder. Then you hear the erhu, and get a Chinese flavor. And Previte’s harmonica can’t help sounding bluesy regardless of the notes he chooses. The music is generally not harsh or abrasive — the “difficult” factor hear comes on a higher level, with the juxtaposition of sounds that are not normally heard together, and the conceptual framework behind the choices. Certainly there is no adherence at all to typical song structures; the pieces wend their ways through sections that flow organically even in the absence of apparent logic. It’s full of brilliant playing and fascinating sounds, and after a dozen or so listens I’m still trying to take it in. At this time, Previte has plans to do a third part dealing with “Arrivals,” though apparently exactly what it will entail is unknown — given what we’ve seen in the first two segments, anything is possible.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Nels Cline, Bobby Previte, Zeena Parkins, John Medeski, Jen Shyu

More info
http://bobbyprevite.bandcamp.com/album/rhapsody

Latest news

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tomasz Stańko Quartet - Lontano – Piano tinkling in the moonlight of a muted trumpet stutter, Miles Davis' lighter moments. Very easygoing and mellow music, perhaps best served with a fine cognac and some throw pillows in front of...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues