Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Claudia Quintet - September (Cuneiform, 2013)

The Claudia Quintet is an always interesting group that combines jazz improvisation with thoughtful composition and a myriad of influences that range from pop music to contemporary classical. The unusual instrumentation of the band is part of their unique appeal. At this time the group consists of straw-boss John Hollenbeck on drums and compositions, Red Wierenga on accordion, Chris Speed on clarinet and tenor saxophone, Matt Moran on vibraphone and Drew Gress or Chris Tordini on bass. “September 20th Soterius Lakshmi” is an excellent opening to the album, developing a great percussive feel that pulls everyone along in its wake. This sensibility continues and is expanded upon during “September 9th Wayne Phases” where the opportunity to stretch out is taken and the texture of group allows for broad based improvisation. The band slows down on some of the more emotional material like “September 25th Somber Blanket” and the 9/11 prayer for peace “September 12th Coping Song.” One of the more interesting performances on the album is “September 29th, 1936 "Me Warn You"” where the sampled voice of Franklin Roosevelt giving a speech about the social programs of the New Deal is juxtaposed against the group’s deeply rhythmic sense of motion. This is multi-faceted music that often deviates from the expected and is filled with the personalities of its creators making for compelling listening. September - amazon.com

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