Review by Dawoud Kringle
“The Sumari, therefore, appear in, or intrude into, the three dimensional system from other dimensions.” – Seth
Thus is the stage set for the music of Sumari.
Sumari is the new CD produced by Jack DeSalvo, and features DeSalvo on cello, guitar, and mandola, Matt Lavelle on trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet, and alto clarinet, and Tom Cabrera on dumbeq, rik, drums, bass drum, and percussion.
A cello ostinanto in a smoothly executed cycle of 5 & ½ beats and brushes on cymbals opens the first track “Seth Dances.” A horn line eases in and fulfills the musical statement that began. The stark, minimal structure evokes a sense of movement within a vast space; a glacial landscape wherein at the forefront the piece’s namesake performs a dance invocation. One is confronted with the imagery in an intense, uncompromising impression upon the senses. After an impassioned consummation of the sound, the musicians wring out every possibility from the piece before drawing it to a close.
“Counterparts are Comparatively Encountered” starts with a free form dialogue between the cello and alto clarinet. Percussions lurk with mysterious playfulness in the background. Things take a decidedly jazzy turn without loosing the abstract setting the piece began with. Somehow, the group actually makes free form improvisation swing.
The remainder of the CD (no, I won’t go for a “song by song” breakdown. After all, I wouldn’t want to put any spoilers here!) has a lot of truly inspired moments.
Jack DeSalvo brings a simultaneous intimacy and expansion of tonal and musical ideas to the cello. On “The Gates of Horn” he makes imaginative use of the mandola. It was clear he was the axis, the musical foundation of this project.
Matt Lavelle upholds his well deserved reputation as a skilled and inspired musician. His work on this CD reiterates his position. That said, Lavelle’s work on the arcane alto clarinet is worthy of special mention. He has brought the instrument from the shadows and is showing the world her musical secrets that public prejudice has hidden.
Tom Cabrera’s work on this collection shows an amazing spectrum of musical ideas. His presence here is indispensable, yet his performance is subtle and almost subliminal in the way it insinuates both the necessary and the unique to this music.
The music on Sumari does what it promised. It opens the way for an extra-dimensional world to communicate its ideas and feelings to us.