Claudia Quintet — Semi-formal
(Cuneiform Rune 217, 2005, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2006-05-01The Claudia Quintet is back with another lovely set of what I think of as Chamber Jazz. While the music mostly gives the impression of being pretty thoroughly composed, there is a looseness to the performance that lends the aura of jazz, and I’ve certainly seen it categorized that way. The sonic palette varies a fair amount, but the dominant instruments are vibraphone, acoustic bass, clarinet and sax, with accordion making frequent appearances as well. Leader and sole composer John Hollenbeck sets up some great busy patterns on his drum kit, but they remain low in the mix, not dominating the sound. Moments of energetic whimsy are balanced by floating sections of wandering tones. On the amusingly titled “They Point... Glance... Whisper... Then Snicker...” Chris Speed gets a chance at freedom on tenor sax, with some of the wildest moments in the collection. The music consistently defies predictability, with a kind of deceptive simplicity coupled with amused lightness throughout, as if they’re all simultaneously winking and smiling knowingly at their listeners. The five musicians rarely clutter up the mix by all playing at the same time, and in spite of their readily apparent talents, never hog the spotlight. All energy is focused on the crisp realization of Hollenbeck’s oddball compositions, and that makes for one of the highlights of 2005.
Related artist(s): The Claudia Quintet
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
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more