Jan 29 2020
“It won’t take much convincing to believe that Quinsin Nachoff’s newest is inspired by a total solar eclipse,” is how I led off my write-up of the saxophonist’s outstanding 2019 release. “Every bit of this sprawling epic radiates the kind of wonderment associated with the witnessing of celestial events.” This is music on a grand scale. There are many elements present on Paths of Totality that made it into past recordings, but there is a sense of interlocking pieces of familiar materials taking a shape far different than what they might have previously, under different conditions and a different time. But key to this album’s success is how Quinsin Nachoff still makes the music accessible. Every year there are a handful of projects that attempt to capture a majestic object or focus, and reflect that majesty with music of an equally imposing presence. More often than not, the resulting music is something to marvel at as if from a distance, and never truly connect with. But if Paths of Totality is the moon, his music brings the listener close enough to reach out an touch it. That’s no small thing. In fact, it might be everything.
Your album personnel: Quinsin Nachoff (tenor & soprano saxophones), David Binney (alto sax, C melody sax), Matt Mitchell (piano, Prophet 6, modular synthesizer, Novachord, harpsichord, Estey pump harmonium), and guests: Kenny Wollesen (drums, Wollesonic percussion), Nate Wood (drums), Jason Barnsley (1924 Kimball theatre organ), Mark Duggan (marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel, crotales, Tibetan singing bowls), Carl Maraghi (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet), Dan Urness, Matt Holman (trumpets), Ryan Keberle (trombones), Alan Ferber (trombone, bass trombone), Orlando Hernández (tap dance), and David Travers-Smith (Buchla 200E analog modular system, EMS Synthi 100 analog/digital hybrid synthesizer, Arp Chroma (Rhodes) analog synthesizer, clavioline, Oberheim SEM, modular Moog).
Released on Whirlwind Recordings.
Music from New York City.
I wrote about the album for The Bandcamp Daily.