Lucid Culture


Saxophonist David Detweiler Brings His Thoughtful, Tuneful Style to a Hometown Florida Gig

Tenor saxophonist David Detweiler has a lyrical, purposeful style, a somewhat smoky tone and a New York connection. His forthcoming release, The Astoria Suite, is scheduled for early 2021. His most recent album, New York Stories is streaming at Spotify. His next gig is a chordless trio set on Oct 16 at 7 PM at the Wine House on Market St. 1355 Market St., Ste. A-1 in Tallahassee, Florida with bassist Brian Hall and drummer Michael Bakan; there’s no cover.

New York Stories is a diverse collection, reflecting the many moods this city would conjure back in the late zeros – a far cry from the relentless gloom and terror of the Cuomo lockdown. It’s a serious reminder of everything that’s been taken away from us, and how desperately we need to get it back! The album opens with Central Station, a briskly pulsing, catchy, straight-ahead swing tune in the early 60s Prestige tradition, anchored by pianist Chris Pattishall’s spare, dark chords as the bandleader floats and flurries overhead. The piano solo takes the bandleader’s ebullience up a notch to wind up the song on a high note.

Detweiler opens Times Change with a balmy lyricism over the low-key syncopation of bassist Clarence Seay and drummer Leon Anderson, Pattishall again fueling an upward drive with his spirals. Home Again is a similarly hummable, vintage soul-tinged song without words set to a steady clave, with a sinuous solo from guitarist Rick Lollar, Detweiler hitting a memorable peak midway through, with an intertwining sax/guitar duel on the way out.

Anderson and Pattishall scramble and Seay racewalks the changes as The Opening, an uneasily bustling swing tune, gathers steam, Detweiler and Pattishall maintaining the charge in turn. Foreground quickly morphs into a similarly moody jazz waltz, Detweiler hitting a series of peaks and pulling the whole band up with him; a sudden lull and handoff to Lollar’s blues-infused solo comes as a surprise.

They go back to upbeat, pulsing swing with Sleuth, Detweiler pushing hard against the edges, Pattishall dancing between the raindrops, Lollar firing off another purist, crescendoing solo. They close the album with Wakeful, a sunset-tinged midtempo clave number. If this is what New York inspired in Detweiler, one can only imagine how colorful his Astoria might be.

October 9, 2020 Posted by | jazz, Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Revisiting a Dark Moment in New York History with Laurie Anderson and the Kronos Quartet

“Sandy was a huge swirl that looked like a galaxy whose name I didn’t know,” Laurie Anderson muses in one of the broodingly atmospheric early numbers on her album Landfall, an epic collaboration with the Kronos Quartet and cellist Jeffrey Ziegler. As Halloweenish music goes, the record – streaming at Spotify – strikes awfully close to home for any New Yorker.

The October 2012 hurricane was a defining moment for Anderson. She lived just off the Hudson River, and lost innumerable, priceless scores, archival material and instruments when her basement was flooded. The irrepressible violinist/composer/agitator has never shied away from dark topics, beginning with O Superman, the cynical Iran hostage crisis-themed single that put her on the map. This is arguably her most personal and most music-centric album: she’s more terse instrumentalist than narrator here.

Most of the thirty tracks here are on the short side, three minutes or less. What’s most intriguing about the album is that each member of the quartet – violinists David Harrington and John Sherba, cellist Sunny Yang and violist Hank Dutt, along with guest cellist Jeffrey Ziegler – get to contribute to the compositions, beginning with an ominous, searching, often Indian-tinged opening theme. As the storm looms on the horizon, there’s heavy, portentous ambience, loopy horror-film trip-hop and leaping agitation.

An allusive danse macabre above murky atmospherics signals Anderson and husband Lou Reed’s move to temporary digs in a hotel after they lose electric power. Evidence of cataclysms more commonplace in warmer climates seem shocking here: boats blown from their docks onto the West Side Highway, street signs twisted in the wind.

Anderson devotes as much if not more time to the aftermath. The music is sometimes austere and melancholy, punctuated by frenetic activity as well as coldly surreal variations on the initial trip-hop theme: Anderson’s long relationship with digital technology has always been conflicted.

To her immense credit, she doesn’t lose her signature sense of humor: her observations on people telling their friends about their dreams is priceless. The epic centerpiece, Nothing Left But Their Names, is considerably more disturbing, reflecting on how 99% of all species that ever existed on earth are now extinct. But the most chilling moment of all is when she finally takes us down to the basement.

October 9, 2020 Posted by | avant garde music, classical music, Music, music, concert, poetry, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment