James Carney Group – Green-Wood – SongLines

by | Sep 12, 2007 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

James Carney Group – Green-Wood – SongLines Multichannel SACD SGL SA1566-2, 68:50 ***(*):

(Peter Epstein, soprano sax; Ralph Alessi, trumpet; Tony Malaby, tenor sax; Jose Roseman, trombone; James Carney, acoustic & electric pianos/analog synth/orchestra bells; Chris Lightcap, bass; Mark Ferber, drums)

This is the third in a series of similar albums featuring music written and orchestrated by Carney. He has assembled a fine sextet of players on the session, which was recorded by the Canadian label in his home base of Brooklyn. Two of the tracks are excerpts from a film score he was commissioned to improvise for a 1925 silent film.  One is the opening Power, which uses some electronic effects, and gave me the false impression that the entire disc was to be of the electronica variety. The other is Shame, which reminded me of Charlie Haden’s slow and dirge-like Silence, and was my fav of the eight tracks.

Most of the melodic material is rather non-tonal without sounding serialized or as confrontational as free jazz. The ensemble writing is good, with a compelling chamber-music feeling often predominant.  The track It’s Always Cold When You’re Leaving makes interesting use of the wah-wah trombone.  The surround sound option keeps the players pretty much on the frontal soundstage, adding some ambience in the surrounds.  This effort would probably have the most appeal to those finding strong melodic content and swinging less important in their jazz world.

TrackList: Power, Smog Cutter, It’s Always Cold When You’re Leaving, Shame, Williwaw, In Lieu of Crossroads, The Poetry Wall, Half the Battle (bonus track)

 – John Henry

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