is a smoking trio comprised of Pandelis Karayorgis (on Fender Rhodes!),
bassist Nate McBride, and drummer Curt Newton. With a ton of history between
them, this group might initially seem to confound expectations: after
all, one expects to find Karayorgis playing an acoustic instrument, usually
exploring quite arch improvisational intersections with new music. But
the players certainly sound full-voiced and confident, as this session
-- culled from a long run at Somerville's Abbey Lounge -- is bitingly
hot from the outset, with nary a tentative moment from the fantastic keyboardist
(who explores all the timbral and textural possibilities at his disposal,
and occasionally uses some wicked distortion on the keys). Benefiting
from this club residency, the trio is super-relaxed and generally in an
expansive mood. The set consists mostly of Monk tunes, with three Karayorgis
originals (including "Disambiguation," one of my faves), one
by Hasaan Ibn Ali, and a crushingly good version of [Eric Dolphy's] "Gazzelloni."
After a few listens -- especially to their quirky, ruminative "Ugly
Beauty" and shifty, mischevious "Monk's Point" -- it's
apparent that, as with the best Monk interpreters, there's no slavish
appropriation of key monastic gestures. Instead, the trio invests the
tunes with their own personality, especially so on their joyous romps
through "We See" and "Shuffle Boil." Give it up, by
the way, for McBride and Newton, one of the best (and most undersung)
tandems out there, on par with Gress and Rainey (and in the same improvisational
ballpark, for that matter). Just listen to them navigate the knotty course
of Ali's "3/4 vs. 6/8 4/4 Time"! It's a killer recording, another
feather in Clean Feed's cap.
Jarrett said he stopped playing the electric piano after his Miles
fusion years because it was only a toy. A toy maybe, but in the hands
of Pandelis Karayorgis it makes for a very fresh experience. The mi3 trio
plays Fender Rhodes piano against acoustic bass/drums on original compositions,
plus four by Thelonious Monk and Gazzelloni by Eric Dolphy.
The deft rhythm section of Curt Newton and Nate McBride (check them out
with Ken Vandermark in the band Tripleplay) set up the experiments here.
The inside/outside take on music, especially Monk, is served well by Karayorgis
use of distortion and wah pedals. This now seemingly very old-school
sound get a boost with all the effects laid down.
never played the Fender Rhodes, unless there's a private recording out
there we've never heard (and how much would you pay to get hold of a copy?).
He experimented with celesta on dates for Riverside, but never took the
quantum leap to an amplified keyboard. Part of it was probably timing,
his retreat from performing coinciding with the Fender's rise in popularity
thanks to funk and fusion. But there's a sense too that Thelonious just
didn't buy into the newfangled technology, preferring the purity of acoustic
ivories to the plugged in variety. Pandelis Karayorgis makes a convincing
case for the Fender's fit into a Monkian compositional universe on this
new disc by his longstanding trio with bassist Nate McBride and drummer
Curt Newton, now operating under the abbreviated moniker MI3. The electric
piano's properties mesh with the angular harmonic elements of signature
Monk ventures like "Ugly Beauty," here slowed to a snail's crawl
and sounding more than a little like a Sun Ra outtake circa "Advice
for Medics," and the closing "We See," which switches reference
points to Mwandishi-era Hancock.
you asked me to make a long enough wish-list for musical projects, I'm
sure I'd wind up asking for a trio with an elite post-jazz keyboardist
smearing a Fender Rhodes electric piano over a snap-crackle-pop free jazz
rhythm section. You can imagine how great it felt to have any such wish
pre-empted by a disc that jumps right into the stratosphere with a leadoff
take on Dolphy's "Gazzelloni" that fits the proposable scheme
as tight as I could hope for.
do you spice up the traditional piano trio? One way is to use drum-heavy
rock rhythms, as the Bad Plus does. Another is the mi3 way, replace the
piano with a Fender Rhodes electric model and whack the hell out of it.
"We Will Make A Home For You" finds pianist Pandelis Karayorgis
and a fine rhythm section conjuring a bold, fuzz-filled noise reminiscent
of the early '70s when musicians like Paul Bley, Jan Hammer, and Chick
Corea began to use electric keyboards toward really wild ends. This trio
takes a number of more difficult Sixties Jazz pieces like Eric Dolphy's
"Gazzelloni," Hassan Ibn Ali's "3/4 Vs. 6/8 4/4 Time"
and Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Point" and sets them to wicked
grooves. Nate McBride and Curt Newton play fat and tight rhythms and Karayorgis
leaps all over them with noisy wah-wah and reverb-filled runs mixed with
bits of abstraction. There are some slower moments from the group as well.
Monk's "Shuffle Boil" gets a graceful waltz treatment and Karayorgis'
own "Centennial" is a slow, quiet walk that sounds like one
of Joe Zawinul's more introspective pieces. This is a side of music that's
lain neglected for thirty years and it's great to have someone take up
the Fender Rhodes standard again and work it so exuberantly.
Surprenante de prime abord, lutilisation du fender
rhodes par Pandelis Karayorgis participe de la même démarche
que celle quavait déjà élaboré le pianiste
grâce au piano microtonal de Joe Maneri. Ici, à travers un
répertoire faisant la part belle aux thèmes de Thelonious
Monk, le son se fait sale, gluant. Et si les premières notes du
Gazzeloni dEric Dolphy (un choix tout sauf innocent !) nous font
irrésistiblement penser à lorgue foutraque dAlice
Coltrane, cest plutôt du côté des formations
électriques de Miles avec Corea et Hancock que le pianiste tire
son inspiration. Chez Karayorgis, un désir évident et obsessionnel
de questionner la note. Non pas lharmonie mais la note, sa vibration,
sa portée, sa fonction. Que le pianiste reprenne ses recherches
ici, dans un répertoire maintes fois rabâché, prouve
la sincérité et lauthenticité du musicien.
Ce qui aurait pu nêtre que curiosité échappe
à cet écueil, précisément grâce à
cette sincérité et à une respiration musicale jamais
prise en défaut ici. Ainsi lutilisation que fait Karyaorgis
du fender rhodes possède ce mérite de ne jamais noyer lespace
et doffrir à la rythmique un terrain de jeu très étendu
(admirables Nate McBride et Curt Newton, si justes et si sensibles).
Brincar às casinhas
Si se atiende a las fechas de grabación (transcurre más de un año entre la primera toma y la última) puede, a priori, presuponerse la inconsistencia de un producto construido con las sobras de distintas sesiones de estudio. En absoluto coincide esta suposición con el proceso de creación de We Will Make A Home For You, disco nacido de las continuas sesiones del mi3 como grupo residente en el Abbey Lounge de Cambridge (inicialmente), y en la Artist At Large de Boston (en su final).
Notes by Pandelis Karayorgis, Curt
Newton, Nate McBride
We've been playing some of these pieces together
for a long time, and it's not just the change in Pandelis's instrument
that makes this Ugly Beauty utterly different from one we might have played
in 1991. A good piece for improvisors lays out a specific and enduringly
new thrill, but the instructions are incomplete. The goal, when attained
in a given performancethe expression of a particular form of energy
whose pattern is contained in the written workis so transformed
each time as to be new to those who chose to chase it. Repetition only
dims the effect.
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