Exposé Online banner

Wayne Horvitz and Sweeter Than the Day — A Walk in the Dark
((Not on label) no#, 2008, CD)

Wayne Horvitz Gravitas Quartet — Way out East
(Songlines SGL SA1558-2, 2006, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2008-10-01

A Walk in the Dark Cover artWay out East Cover art

One of Seattle’s finest composers, Wayne Horvitz, has crafted a new ensemble album for his main quartet. Horvitz’ signature technique translates into imploring melodic constructs within jazz and folk voicing that are seemingly off the cuff but well crafted. The proof is in mix between these two differing efforts. A Walk in the Dark unfolds a distinct balance between Tim Young’s nimble Telecaster finger playing and Horvitz’ unison lines that probe in deceptive control. In contrast “We Never Met” is a clever sweeping waltz, while “Undecided” could be a bluesy voter statement anchored by a lower register piano root. Other picks include “Between the Floors,” a slippery subtle but elegant ballad, and “Waltz for a Woman from Tokyo,” that explores a sad melody with purposeful chord changes and unfettered folk overtones. Horvitz’ compositional palette never ceases to astound, especially on “The 29th Day of May,” where parallel improv lines accentuate Young’s restraint working in tandem with Horvitz’s interjections and chordal melodic traffic control.

Recorded in parallel with Sweeter than the Day’s newest recording, Horvitz expounded on unique arrangements and instrumentation for his second Gravitas studio effort. Denver horn player Ron Miles is perhaps best known for work in the avant-garde playing with his own band while bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck adds some rooting in many of the pieces. By this band, “Waltz or a Lady from Tokyo” is a sweet understated ballad, while the late Elliot Smith’s ballad, “A Fond Farewell” is rendered in a completely different light than the original. The tone of the disc is a bit austere at times, with a controlled atmosphere leaving no room for improv. But it’s that disparity with Horvitz’ other work that shores up the expectations provided in this recording. Overall it’s his unique co-mingling of composition and musician interplay that makes this recording a betting man’s horse that will finish if not outright win the ears of attuned listeners.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 36, 2008 releases, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Wayne Horvitz

Latest news

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Anekdoten - Gravity – The most distinctive things about Anekdoten have always been overdriven bass, Mellotron, cello, and the vocals. This CD answers the question of what happens when you remove two of those elements,...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues