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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Jim Fox, The City the Wind Swept Away

Jim Fox, founder of Cold Blue Records and one of the most fertile, intriguing composers in "radical tonality" today, turns in a fine work with a single in the series, The City the Wind Swept Away (Cold Blue 0015).

It is a slow moving, somewhat mysterious, supremely atmospheric work for two trombones, two bass trombones, piano, two violins, viola and cello. The ensemble creates a kind of blue-green haze to depict a city that has vanished, the emptiness palpable and audible in no uncertain terms. And the performance is all you could wish for.

At the center are slowly moving piano patterns, broken arpeggiated chords swinging like a slow pendulum, sometimes breaking free, only to return to another ostinato pattern. The strings and trombones come upon us as variable translucent blocks, like mists rising over a flat, empty expanse, then dissipating, to be replaced gradually by other chordal blocks of heightened tonal colors.

It's music of beauty and wonder, something that goes well with a sunset or sunup in an otherwise silent room. This is strongly engaging associative music that unfolds in a sonic panorama with great calmness and grace.

It will give you pause, make you drift someplace good. Excellent.

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