Maybe because it’s so rarely used these days, but the clarinet always gets my attention when it’s featured on a disc. These three releases feature the licorice stick in marvelous and creative ways, looking forward, back and left to right.
Argentine pianist Emilio Teubal puts together a gloriously agonizing collection of originals with Sam Sadigursky/woodwinds, John Hadfield/perc, Moto Fukushima/b, Erik Friedlander/cello and Satoshi Takeishi/perc. The music has a wondrous South American lilt, and while Sadigursky also delves into other instruments, his clarinet work on the exotically enticing “Un Simple Objecto” and the lilting “The Constant Reinventor” is like a cool breeze on a summer sunset, while the chamber music feel on “El Acrobata” is as soft as moonlit shadows. There are some assertive moments like the chaotic “El Tema de Ludmila” and the traffic jam on “Milonga para Terminar,” but, hey, this is Latin America. You’ll love this one!
Trumpeter/composer Matt Holman leads a band with Mike McGinnis/cl-bcl, Christopher Hoffman/cello, Nate Radley/g and Ziv ravits/dr-perc that mixes snapping and aggressive post bop to meditative calm. On the latter McGinnis’ reed coos like a quail on “Tuttie” while he along with the leader reach a crashing crescendo on the title track. The light bottom of the music, sans piano, works like cumulous cloud on “Tandem” “Between” and “Syndrome” while the tight rhythm team sets the tone on “Chain of Command” and lets Radley stretch out a bit. Wondrous, inspiring and thoughtful sounds come out of these guys.
Clarinetist Evan Christopher delivers a Baker’s Dozen of duets with pianist Eli Yamin for wondrous material that delivers originals by and dedications to some of teh most important names in jazz. Material like Ellington’s “The Mooche” and “Azalea” sound positively transcendent in this intimate setting, with Christopher’s range going from deep chalumeau to siren high. Yamin’s delivery of “Dancers in Love” snaps like snow peas, while Louie Armstrong’s “Louie’s Dream” is celebratory and insouciant. A spoken poem dedicated to Sidney Bechet summarizes the two artists attitude towards their craft, while Christopher’s tribute “You Gotta Treat It Gentle” displays a heartfelt charm that is missing in so many present day soloists. Every song tells a story; how many of today’s releases can say that?