Saxophonist Noah Kaplan has been recording for years, but this is the first time I’ve consciously spent a good chunk of time listening to his material. Joined by Joe Morris on guitar, Giacomo Merega on bass, and Jason Nazary on drums, Kaplan leads his group through nearly an hour of experimental improvisation on Cluster Swerve, their second release.
Kaplan’s playing focuses on outside and extended techniques, building alien landscapes and atmospheres with slowly-evolving microtones as well as free improv with ample bent notes. Nonetheless, he flirts with the lyrical from time to time, without quite committing to that approach. Morris contributes the cleanly-picked, spiky guitar lines that he is known for along with understated strumming. Merega and Nazary comprise a non-traditional rhythm section, in that they are more interested in rounding out statements made by Kaplan and Morris than setting up anything resembling a groove. In other words, they do their own things but manage to stay within the context of the overall group dynamic.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of Cluster Swerve is its subtlety. While the album has its share of aggressive playing (mostly from Kaplan), none of the quartet needs to be in your face in order to make a statement. Instead, they quietly produce contributions that highlight each other’s and underscore Kaplan’s leadership. It is rare to hear a whole album so finely-drawn, and speaks to the skills of Kaplan and company.
A very solid and worthwhile offering.
Source: Carlsbad Music Festival, the lineup includes:
Adventurous music invades the seaside Village of Carlsbad for the nationally renown 14th annual Carlsbad Music Festival on August 25-27. The Festival programming is an eclectic mix of creative music ranging from contemporary classical, to indie rock, to world music, to electronic; plus a Green Flash beer garden and food trucks steps from the beach.
TICKETED MAINSTAGE ARTISTS:
Julia Holter • Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks • Noveller • Matt Mcbane • Eric Byers • Bora Yoon • Nathan Hubbard + Vinny Golia • Peter Jacobson + Paul Livingstone• Scott Worthington • Aperture Duo • Peter Kuhn Trio • Dollshot • Kamini Natarajan • Chris Douthitt • Jonathan Morgan • Daniel Pate • Tholl/Fogel/Hoff
Source: The New York Times.
HERE AND NOW SERIES LABOR DAY FESTIVAL at Bargemusic (Aug. 30 and Sept. 1-2, 8 p.m.). Credit to Bargemusic for taking a stand, at last, with the latest iteration of its new-music series: All three of these programs, for the most part the same but all slightly different, are made up wholly of work by female composers. World premieres come from Dalit Warshaw, Missy Mazzoli, Alexandra du Bois, Miya Masaoka, Milica Paranosic, Gity Razaz, Whitney George, Nina C. Young and Paula Matthusen; additional works are by names including Laura Kaminsky and Paola Prestini. And the players are all women, too, Ursula Oppens, Jennifer Choi and Kathleen Supové among them.
TAKA KIGAWA at Le Poisson Rouge (Aug. 28, 7 p.m.). You can rely on Mr. Kigawa for programs that step beyond the ordinary repertoire of most pianists, and here is another one: a performance of Olivier Messiaen’s “Catalogue d’Oiseaux.” Written in the late 1950s for Yvonne Loriod, a former student of Messiaen’s whom he went on to marryand who was a crucial pianist for postwar composers, it’s a series of portraits of birds and their surroundings, 13 in all, stretching well over two hours of playing. To experience it all, in one sitting, is a rare sighting indeed.
LOCRIAN CHAMBER PLAYERS at Riverside Church (Aug. 25, 8 p.m.). Among the New York contemporary music scene’s best-kept secrets, this group continues its mission to present music from the last 10 years or so, in the unusual setting of a church tower in Morningside Heights. On the bill this time are pieces by John Luther Adams, Adrienne Albert, Aaron Alter, Caroline Mallonée, Andrew Lovett and David Macdonald.