“explosive musicality” – Dee Dee McNeil reviews 12 HOUSES – SOLIDARITY
MATT LAVELLE – cornet, flugelhorn, alto clarinet, conduction, LEE ODOM – soprano saxophone and clarinet, CHARLES WATERS – alto saxophone and clarinet, RAS MOSHE BURNETT – tenor and soprano saxophones, flute, bells, TIM STOCKER – baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, MARY CHERNEY – flute, piccolo, CLAIRE de BRUNNER – bassoon, CHRIS FORBES – piano, LAURA ORTMAN – violin, GIL SELINGER – cello, ANDERS NILSSON – guitar, JACK DeSALVO – banjo, mandolin, JOHN PIETARO – vibraphone, percussion, FRANÇOIS GRILLOT – double-bass, RYAN SAWYER – drums,ANAÏS MAVIEL – voice
CD Review: https://musicalmemoirs.wordpress.com/
By Dee Dee McNeil
Unseen Rain Records
Matt Lavelle, cornet/flugelhorn/alto clarinet & conductor; Lee Odom, soprano saxophone/clarinet; Charles Waters, alto saxophone/clarinet; Ras Moshe Burnett, tenor and soprano saxophone/flue/bells; Tim Stocker, baritone saxophone/bass clarinet; Mary Cherney, flute,piccolo; Claire de Brunner, bassoon; Chris Forbes, piano; Laura Ortman, violin; Gil Selinger,, cello; Anders Nillson, guitar; Jack DeSalvo, banjo, mandola; John Pietaro, vibraphone, percussion; François Grillot, double bass; Ryan Sawyer, drums; Anaïs Maviel, voice.
The first song Is dark, full of strings and horns that remind me of gardens packed with honey bees and flies. The instrumentation encourages strings to be bowed and tones to be bent. Consequently, they sound very much like insects to me. It’s titled “solidarity”, the same as the CD. The composer must have had something specific in mind, but I probably would have titled it, ‘Spring Garden.’ Lavelle has composed everything on this production. He is the conductor and plays cornet, flugelhorn and alto clarinet. His concept is to hire master jazz players and challenge them to improvise on his musical themes using both traditional, classical instruments. This includes Claire de Brunner on bassoon and Gil Selinger on cello; Ras Moshe Burnett on reeds and Charles Waters on alto sax and clarinet. It’s not an odd premise to throw traditionally classical instruments into the arms of jazz musicians, since jazz is often referred to as America’s unique classical art form. However, this project seems to be melting chamber orchestra and big band music together over an unusual premise of improvisation, freedom and Avant Garde. The song “Faith” gives us a taste of New Orleans verve and Kansas City spicy ‘Swing’. However, the resulting responsiveness between players fosters explosive musicality to interpret Lavelle’s compositional focus. His desire to mix genres is both interesting and challenging. It leaves the final review to be culminated by the ears and in the hands of you, the listener.