Nov 21 2012
The quality that most strikes me about the music that comes from James Falzone is spontaneity. Even though his albums are typically dominated by tracks that serve up unusual rhythmic geometry and strange melodic assemblages, that spontaneity imbues the music with a lively hop, gives a light touch to the music of heavy thoughts.
Drawing his inspiration from the architectural landscape surrounding him during a one-week residency in Brooklyn, Falzone has created a set of original compositions that evoke their own architectural presence, bonding his music to the form and shape of the cities from which it sprung.
Your album personnel: James Falzone (clarinet), Jason Adasiewicz (vibes), Jason Roebke (bass, cracklebass), and Tim Daisy (drums).
Seemingly borne of the same cloth as fellow clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre, who led some amazing trios in the 50s & 60s, with his 1960s trio displaying innovative approaches to group improvisation and the patterns resulting from it. It’s why sometimes a listener almost knows what to expect next when listening to a completely improvised piece… certain patterns that speak to the creative process and, thus, the humanity in both performer and listener. Falzone, in fact, spoke directly to the Giuffre influence on an earlier release Tea Music, though that was more specifically tied back to Giuffre’s 50s trio.
So what does all that mean for this album? Where I’m going with this is that this isn’t music to make first-blush assumptions with. That what sounds like modern jazz edging near the avant-garde/free improv border will do some surprising things that you should’ve expected in the first place…
That Falzone may often sound on clarinet like he’s trying to elude a tail by perpetually doubling back, making sharp turns, and heading the wrong way into traffic, well, he is just as able to gently drift in space, like on the beautiful “It Felt As If Time Had Stopped.”
Adasiewicz’s vibes may often sound as if dictated by stormy winds (like on “Ukrainian Village”), but then suddenly shifts into a charming bop ‘n pop on “Jazz Searching Self.”
Whether live or in studio, Tim Daisy is a friggin’ tornado on drums, and he shows no inclination to refute that comparison on a track like “Brooklyn Lines,” but then suddenly he’s leading the swing on “Carol’s Burgers.”
And Roebke, though breaking out the wiry distortion of crackle box on “Ukrainian Village,” he also shepherds the quartet through the darting “Scuiridae” with deliberate meaningful phrases.
Spend some time with this music. This is music that intrigued me with my first visit, a little more with my second, and then after some time away, I find myself listening to it pretty frequently, my admiration and enjoyment increasing along with the time spent. The music becomes more friendly the more one gets to know it. Some music is like that.
Released on the Allos Musica label.
Jazz from the Chicago scene.
You can stream the entire album, and purchase it, on the artist’s bandcamp page.
On an unrelated note, I found this Falzone quote in some of his promotional material for the album. Speaking of his time spent on his Brooklyn residency…
“I was staying in Carroll Gardens, and would wake up each morning at 6 a.m., walk for a coffee, walk a part of Brooklyn, then go back to the apartment I was renting and write music until afternoon. These are the pieces that came from that time.”
Oh man, does that speak to me. Makes me think back to those times when I would have dedicated time to just writing a fiction novel, how I would become subsumed by everything around me, visceral reactions to environmental stimuli while simultaneously becoming immersed in the task of universe building in my head, as the book would form and re-form with each written page. And how all of that profound feeling and thought would occur with the simple act of getting coffee from the corner shop or a quick walk around the neighborhood.
Anyways, just felt like sharing that. Doesn’t have anything to do with anything.