Hot off the press: The Sweet Volcano

On The Sweet Volcano, the debut release from Icker Records, acclaimed cellist Matt Turner and pianist Greg Pagel explore a fascinating space between the worlds of improvised music and the European classical tradition.  The album is a series of free improvisations drawing inspiration from composers such as Schöenberg, Varèse, Ives, Stravinsky and Crumb, while keeping true to the adventurous spirit of free jazz. The depth of the rapport between these two should come as no surprise. Pagel and Turner are both graduates of New England Conservatory and the Conservatory at Lawrence University, having studied with many of the same teachers, including Joe Maneri and Ran Blake.  Both are seasoned jazz veterans who also frequently perform both traditional and contemporary classical music.  Having played together for over a decade, they speak the same musical language, and this recording shows that they are able to spontaneously compose as a single musical mind, creating works both coherent and whimsical.  The music here is largely atonal, but never chaotic.  The variety of textures is extreme, but even when verging on the avant-garde (both players employ a variety of extended techniques), lyricism is never abandoned.  The moods range from pensive (as on Widow’s Watch) to ferocious (as on Scherzo) to spiritual (as on Gloaming).  The Sweet Volcano takes us where free improvisation can go but seldom does.  Enjoy the journey.


~ by turnmatt on November 28, 2012.

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