Friday, August 22, 2008

Jeff Gauthier's Goatette - House of Return (Cryptogramophone, 2008)

Jeff Gautheir wears many hats - instrumentalist, composer and label chief to name just a few. On this recent album with his group Goatette he plays violin and is joined by Nels Cline on guitar, David Witham on piano, Joel Hamilton on bass, and Alex Cline on drums. The group covers a lot of ground with different textures and tone colors throughout the album. My favorite track on the disc was "Friends of the Animal" which has an exciting and adventurous fusion feel, somewhat like an updated version of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, with Gauthier's violin swirling around a snarling Nels Cline guitar solo. Many of the other tracks offer differing textures as well. "Biko's Blues" opens the disc at a melancholy mid-tempo, with Gauthier's violin hinting at sadness and loss. "Dissolution" and "Dizang" are very thoughtfully composed and improvised performances with layers of subtlety available for discovery for the patient listener. This was a successful album with a very interesting sound. Drawing on modern jazz, rock 'n' roll and world music, the music found on this disc should find wide appeal.

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