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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Johan Helmich Roman, Assaggi per Violino Solo, Fabio Bondi


If you are a Baroque fanatic you may know the name of Swedish composer Johan Helmich Roman (1694-1758), or perhaps you do not. He is new to me. The recent recording of his  Assaggi Per Violino Solo (Naive  V 8209) will doubtless show you a composer of real talent if you spend some time with it as I have.

Perhaps the first thing you'll notice is the beautiful performances of violinist Fabio Biondo throughout. He has a beautifully sparking sound and impeccable tone control. The seven groupings of works each gives us a bristling Baroque leaping forth of single-noted implied counterpoint furthered by double stops weaving in and out, somewhat in the manner of Bach and his Suites, yet lyrically more trimmed down-- though still lovely at every turn.

This is a real sleeper, a gem in the solo string realm both for composer and performer. Very recommended.

To stream the album, start with this link and follow the single links for a wealth of movements.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Denman Maroney Quintet, The Air Conditioned Nightmare


When Minimalist hypnotic circularity meets Free Jazz oriented geometric Pointillism we have something that makes sense and indeed when in the right hands such as here we have some sensational music. Pianist Denman Maroney has for some time been a thoughtful Free Jazz pianist. See my review of some of his Free Jazz music from my Gapplegate Music Review article of August 21, 2017

On this new album The Air Conditioned Nightmare (Neuma CD 204) we feel the open Jazz rootedness that over the years Maroney has so authentically embodied in his previous work. Here however Maroney introduces a deliberate Counterpoint of differentially varied rhythmic cycles between piano left hand and piano right hand (Maroney), that and vocals (Emilie Lesbros), that and tenor and Bb clarinet (Robin Fincker) that and bass (Scott Walker) and finally all that and drums (Samuel Silvant).

We get a deliberately composed set of differentials presumably laid out by Maroney and allowed to expand and contract as they play out, within at time Jazz Swing, Rock, and New Music performance feels. We get a great deal to explore and appreciate on the 18 works that comprise the two CD set, including a skewed Monkian Stuffy Turkey.

The complexity and organic heft of the skewed works offers us much to experience and appreciate. And in the end, we come away with a strong feeling of the newness of the music as well as its rootedness, with real musicianship by all concerned. It repeats in a roughly Minimalist way but stands out as a new way to lay out the cyclic material.

This one satisfies the discerning ear in musically substantial ways.

Go to BandCamp to listen to a free stream, and if you like order a downlo0ad or a CD copy.