Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Devious Accordion Fun from Guy Klucevsek

Music blogger reading Downbeat on the subway spies a mention of Guy Klucevsek’s most recent album The Multiple Personality Reunion Tour. How could a (relatively) new release by such an important figure in jazz and its outskirts have slipped under the radar here? Breathless email to the publicist at Innova – who put out this delightfully witty album at the end of January – results in a package of files which translates, at least to some extent, into what you are reading right now. This is not a heavy album, but it’s very smart, a bright, playful mix of short, droll numbers along with a handful of more expansive tunes. Novoya polka stars Brave Combo join Klucevsek along with a vast supporting cast mostly hailing from the downtown New York scene.

Marcus Rojas’ pulsing tuba drives the Balkan-flavored opening track, Breathless and Bewildered, shifting from major to minor with twin accordions in perfect unison. The pensive, slow Waltz for Sandy features drummer John  Hollenbeck at his most tersely coloristic, adding vividly sepulchral brushwork. Jo Lawry’s deadpan, breathless layers of vocalese color the tongue-in-cheek Gimme a Minute, Please (My Sequins Are Showing).

Klucevsek follows that with Larsong, a diptych for solo accordion that shifts from a purposeful Nordic folk theme to a rather wary canon. Likewise, Ratatouille builds a circular west African motif up to a lavish choir of voices and then back again. There are also three imaginative rearrangements of Erik Satie “hymnopedies,” the first being a sort of mashup of Satie and a European hymn, the second a slightly more hopeful version of the famous Gymnopedie No. 2 featuring bright Dave Douglas trumpet, and the third a stately klezmer-inflected dirge that goes unexpectely bouncing with a surreal off-centeredness that would make its composer proud.

The best song here is Pink Elephant, climbing from an insistent Taxi Driver-style intro to a balmy but bracing Balkan dance. Klucevsek doesn’ t show off much on this album, but he pulls out all the stops on a deliriously thrilling, trilling solo. He follows that with O’o, a jauntily swinging psychedelic calypso number with all kinds of trippy efx. The album winds up with Ladereld, extrapolating on the riff from California Girls; The C and M Waltz, a coyly orchestrated schoolyard jumprope theme, and the irresistibly funny party-gone-wrong scenario Moja Baba Je Pijana, complete with understandably distraught English translation. Big up to Klucevsek’s like-minded supporting cast, which also includes fellow squeezebox guy Alex Meixner, guitarist Brandon Seabrook, bassist Pete Donovan, drummer Kenny Wollesen, singers Theo Bleckmann and Peter Eldridge, saxophonist Steve Elson and Texas bandleader Little Jack Melody.

Klucevsek works fast: he’s already got a lavish double album featuring even more collaborations than this one due out later this fall from Starkland.

September 25, 2012 - Posted by | jazz, Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Thank you for your beautifully-written and evocatively colorful review of my latest album, The Multiple Personality Reunion Tour. I must correct a couple of important factual errors, however: 1) I am the composer of Three Hymnopedies, not Erik Satie; the pieces are dedicated to him, not based on his pieces or thematic material, but inspired by them; 2) the delicate and intricate brushwork on Waltz for Sandy is by John Hollenbeck, with no disrespect to Kenny Wollesen–he just happens not to be playing on this tune, and such is clearly stated in the insert. Again, thank you for the review, it is really a wonderful introduction to the material and cast of characters!

    Comment by Guy Klucevsek | September 26, 2012 | Reply

    • thanks very much for this. I was sure that was Kenny on the waltz, goes to show how much I know (all I had was files, no liner notes, so I was winging it…). That you scored not one but two of the best drummers in the business on this album pretty much speaks for itself. As far as Satie is concerned, it’s public domain so anything goes!

      Comment by the boss here | September 26, 2012 | Reply

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