Claudia Quintet + 1 — What Is the Beautiful?
(Cuneiform Rune 327, 2011, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2013-04-01
NYC-based Claudia Quintet have wasted no time following up on their critically acclaimed 2010 release, Royal Toast. This time out drummer John Hollenbeck and crew pay tribute to American poet, artist, and composer Kenneth Patchen with an ambitious and varied collection of compositions. The most striking innovation in the group's sound is revealed quickly on the opening track, "Showtime," with renowned jazz vocalist Kurt Elling reciting Patchen's beat poetry against bassist Drew Gress's melodic lines. Elling trades off on the microphone with vocalist Theo Bleckmann, for the most part delivering spoken word recitations though occasionally crooning the text, as seen on the delicate and wistful "The Snow Is Deep on the Ground." For the most part the arrangements are replete with thorny harmonic constructs that lack the instant appeal of much of Royal Toast. But for the listener who can stomach the sort of angularity and dissonance on display in tracks like "Mates for Life" or "Opening the Window," the rewards are plentiful. Guest pianist Matt Mitchell is a good fit for the material, whether he's providing accompaniment for the poetry of "Do Me That Love," or delving into abstract expressionism on "Limpidity of Silences." On the whole, the entire ensemble (which also includes vibraphonist Matt Moran, tenor player Chris Speed, and accordionist Ted Reichman) continues to display the intelligence and unity that have characterized previous releases. And although I'd characterize this record as "head jazz" the songs make an appeal to the soul that only the best art can.
Related artist(s): The Claudia Quintet
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
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more