The Wayne Horvitz free download series: The Four Plus One Ensemble – “From a Window”


Wayne Horvitz promoIn honor of his 60th birthday, of which 35 years has been spent recording (and releasing) his music, Wayne Horvitz has announced that he will be giving away a free track once a week for the entire year.  That’s fifty-two songs to add to your library as you begin (or continue) to explore his wonderful catalog.

And me, I’m going to write something about every one of those downloads after each is released.  Now, keep in mind, these tracks will only be free for the week of their release… so be sure to check in here often.  Also, you can stay up to date on the status of these free tracks by following Wayne on his Facebook page and also on Twitter.  He’ll be releasing these tracks each Tuesday.  Today’s new, free track is #2.  At the bottom of this column will be a link to the previous write-up, which gives a lot more background on the project and the music of Wayne Horvitz.

Let’s begin…


Wayne Horvitz: The Four Plus One Ensemble – From A Window

Wayne Horvitz - "From a Window"Horvitz’s 4+1 Ensemble is, without a doubt, my favorite project.  It brings together elements of chamber music, modern jazz and some tasteful electronics & effects.  The music is unclassifiable, and it has a very strong presence.  It possesses a perspective that rings with clarity.  The closest thing by way of comparison would be a later Horvitz project, his Gravitas Quartet.  It, like the 4+1 Ensemble, sculpts a heavy serenity out of harmonies and melodies that, when viewed on their own, don’t seem like the building blocks of tranquility.  But they are.

Today’s free track comes from the 2001 release From A Window.  Opening track “Crispin & Lisa’s Duet” gets right to the heart of this music.  Slashing melodic lines from violist Eyvind Kang snap into place with the deep resonance of trombonist Julian Priester.  Meanwhile, you’ve got piano and keyboards and effects contributing both a sharp lyricism and a cloudy ambiance.  The song seems to possess no form, yet, at times, is so undeniably tuneful that a semblance of structure and intent manifests at any number of moments.

This week’s free track is “Sweeter Than the Day”… a composition performed by many of Horvitz’s different ensembles, and, thankfully, each with their own dramatic take.  The 4+1 Ensemble rendition is ethereal and it is sublime.  It has an alluring disposition in the way melodic fragments float enticingly in the center of things as the song seems always on the verge of taking shape… but never quite fully emerging.  On the other hand, “Julian’s Ballad” shows how the ensemble can suddenly coalesce and surge forward, shading sometimes toward a groove and sometimes toward unbounded volatility.

From A Window was the second and final album released by this ensemble.  Their first, the self-titled 4 Plus 1 Ensemble, ranks as my all-time favorite Horvitz recording.  At some point, I’m hoping to see a free track from that recording released as part of this series.  If it is, I’ve got plenty of more to say.  For now, go download and explore… and if it’s something you like, follow one of those retail links at the bottom of the column to take care of business.

Your album personnel:  Wayne Horvitz (piano, keyboards), Reggie Watts (piano, keyboards, vocals), Julian Priester (trombone), Eyvind Kang (violin, viola), Tucker Martine (live electronic processing) and Skerik (baritone sax).

Download the free track by using the embedded audio player above or direct from Horvitz’s Bandcamp page.

Released in 2001 on Avant Records.

Read more about this ensemble on Wayne’s site.

Available at: BandcampAmazon

And here’s A LINK to the inaugural column of this series. It’ll give you some information on Horvitz as well as a rundown of the first featured album.