Jan 11 2014
Susanne Paul’s Move Quartet – “El Camino”
An album that has been absolutely mesmerizing me since I first discovered it this last December is El Camino, by Susanne Paul’s Move Quartet. It’s a string quartet that creates the most enchanting chamber music. They seek to bring together elements of classical, jazz, and soundscape. The heaviest influence on the music is the first of those three, but the other two influences peek out at favorable moments.
An album so beautiful at times, it’s stunning.
Your album personnel: Susanne Paul (cello and compositions), Ger∂ur Gunnarsdóttir (violin), Ari Poutiainen (viola), and Carlos Bica (double bass).
“Basics of Birds” typifies many of the album pieces… a motion that sounds erratic from one tick of the clock to the next, but over the course of its progression, reveals a graceful fluidity not apparent at first blush. Sunny harmonies cross overhead from time to time, as hints of a melodic theme trickle up to the surface.
“Panache Bleu” builds up into a lather with some frenetic slashes and groove, then exhales deeply with a lilting wash of harmony in “Choral.”
“Baobab” is a gorgeous display of accentuating melodic beauty by toying with the tempo. A prancing cadence is set against a crosshatch of melodic fragments and harmonic bursts, creating one of the prettiest and most engaging album tracks.
Scattered throughout the album are a variety of brief interludes, improvisatory moments that communicate as conversational asides… interesting small-talk in between the larger topics at hand. They’re also pretty damn fun. “Is it Tango?” slashes and cuts through a tempo inspired by peculiar motions. “Space Insects” twitters with unseen life. “Gunslinger” has a twang and thump and something vaguely resembling a cool stroll carried out in slow-motion.
The album ends with the title-track “El Camino,” a song with the elegance of a waltz, the warmth of a lullaby.
Which, now that it’s been written, it occurs to me that’s the statement I could’ve led with this review. It’s a beautiful recording, of elegance and warmth.
Released on JazzHaus Musik.
Music from the Berlin, Germany scene.
Available at: eMusic | Amazon MP3
It will be of interest to some of this site’s readers to note that the bass player on this recording, Carlos Bica, has put out a series of albums on the Clean Feed Records label. To anyone remotely familiar with Clean Feed, it won’t be a surprise to learn that those recordings are nothing like El Camino. It’s intriguing to hear Bica in a different setting. Here’s a brief synopsis of one such recording.
Feb 25 2014
Franz von Chossy Quintet – “When the World Comes Home”
I was recently wandering around the Bandcamp site, and I found this little gem of an album. When the World Comes Home by the Franz von Chossy Quintet is just about the prettiest thing I’ve heard lately, and despite my busy listening schedule, I keep hitting the play button on this beautiful recording. A contemporary blend of jazz, classical, and folk, strong melodies are stated simply, then lofted up on the shoulders of majestic harmonies and carried away by dynamic rhythms that often border on the breathless.
Opening track “Along the River” offers up harmonies soft and sweet. “Steps of the Sun” adds a sense of urgency to the affair, with complex rhythmic strata and a lovely melody that flows through its seams. “The Salt Companion” follows this with a melody that’s freer and allowed to roam, while remaining distinctly within earshot as it twists and turns, a fluid motion, perpetually changing shapes a little at a time.
“Perpetual Lights” plays and tinkers with melody with a pop music sensibility, drawing out exciting nuance without making it any less catchy. “Human Dark With Sugar” and “Eternal Elephant” present a quieter side to this recording, with the former adopting a sorrowful tone and the latter opening out with a brooding disposition, then ending with a surging intensity. “Victoria Line” returns with an upbeat tempo and a folk music swing.
The melodic development on title-track “When the World Comes Home” reflects not just this album’s staggering beauty, but the observation that the beauty grows stronger as the album proceeds. The album ends with the skittering “Dust and Diamonds,” a track that coasts on warm harmonies and a melody that peeks out from within. The album ends just like it began… with an abounding melodic grandeur and rhythms that crackle with life.
Absolutely thrilled to have stumbled onto this recording, and I’m just as thrilled to be able to share word of it here today.
Your album personnel: Franz von Chossy (piano), Jeffrey Bruinsma (violin), Alex Simu (clarinet), Jörg Brinkmann (cello), and Yonga Sun (drums).
This album was Self-Produced, and released in 2012.
Jazz from the Amsterdam scene.
Available at: Bandcamp Digital | CDBaby CD&Digital | Amazon: CD – MP3
Note: It appears that the track order on Bandcamp is different than that on other retail outlets. I left my review in the order of presentation that represented how I heard it (the Bandcamp presentation), because that is how this music was revealed to me. The alternate track ordering has the title-track as the album’s final song… I have to admit, that song makes for a great album finale. But either way, you can’t go wrong. Just a beautiful recording.
By davesumner • Jazz Recommendations, Jazz Recommendations - 2012 Releases • 0