Tiny Reviews: Laurent Coq/Miguel Zenon, Michael Pedecin, Sean Noonan, Szilard Mezei, & Fischermanns Orchestra

Tiny Reviews, featuring:  Laurent Coq & Miguel Zenon Rayuela, Michael Pedicin Live at the Loft, Sean Noonan A Gambler’s Hand, Szilard Mezei Szabad Quintet Singing Elephant, and Fischermanns Orchestra Conducting Sessions.



Laurent Coq & Miguel Zenon – Rayuela

Based on the literary work Rayuela by Argentinean writer Julio Cortázar, Laurent Coq and Miguel Zenon have created a beautifully textured album.  Their approach to translating the novel into music ranges from thematic interpretations of the book’s subject matter to literal notations based on the letters composing story character names.  I’m always a sucker for clever premises like this, but this is an album so finely constructed that one could be oblivious to compositional schemes and inspirations, and not risk sacrificing the tiniest bit of enjoyment.

Your album personnel:  Laurent Coq (piano), Miguel Zenon (alto sax), Dana Leong (cello, trombone), and Dan Weiss (drums, tablas, percussion).

This is one of those albums that sounds so much bigger than the personnel credits would make one assume.  The richness of sounds gives the illusory impression of an outfit larger than a quartet.  Sweeping melodies, cloudbursts of rhythms, a flair from the dramatic, and a cohesiveness like woven silk.

While Coq’s piano and Zenon’s sax are the driving forces behind this recording, enough can’t be said about the integral contribution of Leong and Weiss.  Leong’s sections on cello (like on “La Maga”) elevate the song to a new plateau, and Weiss’s use of tabla (like on album opener “Talita”) bring a sonic tactility to the music that’s an indispensable element of the album’s rich texture.

Released on the Sunnyside Records label.

Available at eMusic.  Available at Amazon: CD | MP3


Michael Pedicin – Live at the Loft

Tenor sax vet Michael Pedicin has been making quality jazz under the radar for a little while now.  He’s back with another recording, bringing in a quintet for a live date that features only ballads.  Most he stays true to form on, though a few nice up-tempo surprises.  A special treat is his version of Coltrane’s “Africa,” which gets a nice bit of swing into it.

Your album personnel:  Michael Pedicin (tenor sax), Jim Ridl (piano), Johnnie Valentino (guitar), Andy Lalasis (bass), and Bob Shomo (drums).

Released on the Jazz Hut Records label.

Available at eMusic.


Sean Noonan – A Gambler’s Hand

Drummer Sean Noonan’s music takes a storytelling approach.  Noonan likes building a narrative for his music.  Definitely the case here, a suite of compositions for drums and string quartet.  Very much a Third Stream recording, mixing in classical and jazz… heavier on the former in this instance.  Really one of those albums that moves beyond the concept of genre.  Some breathtaking moments on strings, like the “I Feel the Clouds,” but also plenty of bluster and drama to keep the heart racing.  Something different, for sure.

Your album personnel:  Sean Noonan (drum set, percussion), Tom Swafford (violin), Patti Kilroy (violin), Leanne Darling (viola), and David West (cello).

Released on the Songlines Records label.

Available at eMusic.


Szilard Mezei Szabad Quintet – Singing Elephant

Violist and composer Szilard Mezei continues to find the balancing act between compositional form and improvisational approach.  This time he leads a quintet in a set of modern avant-garde music.  Sometimes the tunes have a pleasant drift, other times they announce themselves with audacity.  Fans of Harris Eisenstadt’s work might want to spend some time here.  Second mention of Mezei on the site; the other time for his vocal ensemble.

Your album personnel:  Szilard Mezei (viola), Hunor G. Szabo (drums), Peter Bede (tenor sax), Adam Meggyes (trumpet, cornet), and Erno Hock (double bass).

Released on the NotTwo Records label.

Available at eMusic.


Fischermanns Orchestra – Conducting Sessions

The Fischermanns Orchestra is a big band that’s way more avant-garde than anything your parents used to dance to in the ballrooms.  Squaks and skronks aplenty throughout the compositions, though even with the dissonant noises, there are times when forms become apparent.  Neat album, definitely not your everyday thing.

Your album personnel:  Samuel Blätter (synth, trumpet, conductor), Bodo Maier (trumpet), Daniela Künzli (alto sax), Lino Blöchlinger (alto sax, sopranino sax, electronics), Nathanael Bosshard (tenor sax), Philipp Z’Rotz (bass clarinet, clarinet, conductor), Simon Petermann (trombone), Juan Sebastian Rozo (euphonium), Ivan Estermann (tuba), Jan Trösch (guitar, conductor), Martina Berther (electric bass), Philippe Zeltner (percussion), Emanuel Künzi (percussion), Reto Eisenring (snare drum), and Thomas Reist (bass drum).

Released on the Unit Records label.

Available at eMusic.



The Zenon/Coq review is original to Bird is the Worm, but portions of the other reviews were originally used in my Jazz Picks weekly article for eMusic, so here’s some language protecting their rights to that reprinted material as the one to hire me to write about new jazz arrivals to their site…

“New Arrivals Jazz Picks,“ reprints courtesy of eMusic.com, Inc.
© 2012  eMusic.com, Inc.

As always, my sincere thanks to eMusic for the gig.  Cheers.