AMN Reviews: Kyle Motl Trio w/ Kjell Nordeson & Tobin Chodos – Panjandrums [metatrope-006]

The piano trio has evolved in many different ways since the classic Bill Evans Trio, with bassist Scott LaFaro, introduced the format to a looser, more polyphonic sound. The Kyle Motl Trio, which in addition to the bassist includes pianist Tobin Chodos and percussionist Kjell Nordeson, pushes the piano trio further into territory notable for the independence of its voices and its harmonic complexity.

The music on Panjandrums isn’t made out of conventional melodies and harmonies—far from it—but nevertheless it artfully conveys a range of moods and states of mind: restlessness, exuberance, introspection, capriciousness. Architecturally, each of the group’s three constituent parts is an interlocked piece in a tightly integrated whole. Bass and piano are distinctive but complementary voices carrying convoluted, often dense and rapid lines with, through and against each other. The drums set out a free pulse subdividing time and parceling it out into sequences of irregular but balanced and compact quanta. The closes the trio come to a conventional jazz trio piece is xOr, where the piano clearly takes the lead over a regular meter and a bass laying down a discernible harmonic foundation, complete with the simulacrum of a walking line. This is meticulously constructed music well-served by a crisp and finely balanced recording.

http://kylemotl.bandcamp.com

Daniel Barbiero

Empyrean Ensemble

My alma mater, UC Davis, is home to the Empyrean Ensemble a modern classical group. Their current schedule is below.

Americana: American Themes in Music and Film
7 pm, Sunday, 25 January 2009
Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center, UC Davis
6 pm pre-concert talk: “Demystifying the Music”

7:30 pm, Wednesday, 28 January 2009
California State University, Fresno
Pablo Ortiz: New Work (with early American silent film) for violin, viola, cello,
flute, clarinet, piano and percussion (2008) WORLD PREMIERE
Benjamin Boone: New Work WORLD PREMIERE
Robin Estrada: DASAL for clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano (2008) WORLD PREMIERE*
Derek Keller: New Work for cello, piano and percussion (2008) WORLD PREMIERE
Aaron Travers: TRIO for clarinet, piano and percussion (2007) WORLD PREMIERE
Charles Ives: Largo for clarinet, violin and piano (1934)
Ortiz (arr.): Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean

Hot Off the Press: All New Works by American Composers
7 pm, Sunday, 15 March 2009
Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center, UC Davis
6 pm pre-concert talk: “Demystifying the Music”
Mario Davidovsky: Piano Septet for violin, viola, cello, contrabass, flute, clarinet and piano (2007) WORLD PREMIERE
Sara Doncaster: Piano Trio (2008) WORLD PREMIERE
Petros Ovsepyan: Deserts for violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet, percussion and piano (2009) WORLD PREMIERE
Ed Martin: Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano (2008) WORLD PREMIERE
Mika Pelo: New Work for violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet, percussion and piano (2009) WORLD PREMIERE

New Music from Davis: All New Works by UC Davis Graduate Composers
7 pm, Monday, 1 June 2009
Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center, UC Davis
6 pm pre-concert talk: “Demystifying the Music”
Hendel Almetus, An Tan, Ching-Yi Wang
Ben Irwin, Sue-Hye Kim, Garrett Shatzer
Davide Verotta

Special Free Noon Concert: Empyrean Members Join UC Davis Student Performers
12:05 pm, Thursday, 30 April 2009
Room 115, Music Building, UC Davis
Empyrean members join UC Davis students to perform 20th- and 21st-century music, including a new work by Ross Bauer and two new student compositions.

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