Matt Jorgensen – Tattooed by Passion (Music inspired by the paintings of Dale Chisman) – Origin Records 82568, 58:50 *****:
(Thomas Marriott, trumpet; Mark Taylor, saxophone; Corey Christiansen, guitar; Dave Captein, bass; Matt Jorgensen, drums)
(With special guests – Richard Cole, clarinet (#11); Karen Haliburton, violin (#3,4,11); Eric Rynes, violin (#3,4,11); Brianna Atwell, viola (#3,4,11); Chris Worswick, cello (#3,4,11))
Matt Jorgensen has created a profound moving work on Tattooed by Passion, his CD honoring his father-in-law, Dale Chisman, who was considered Colorado’s most significant abstract painter for thirty years until his untimely death on August 29, 2008. Matt includes several photos of Dale’s work in the liner notes, which give a clear indication of Chisman’s talent.
What drew me into this CD was the wide variety of musical palettes that Jorgensen uses to express his affection for Dale. Much as an abstract artist can use color, shadow, and shading to express emotion, Matt has included classical, jazz, and rock themes to paint his pictures.
“Space, Plane, and Line” has a beauty that is expressed through Mark Taylor’s saxophone, Thomas Marriott’s warm fluent trumpet tone, and as on many of the CD’s tracks, a undercurrent provided by the brilliant electric guitarist, Corey Christiansen. Corey can bring to mind John McLaughlin one minute, yet can slash and run like an early Carlos Santana. I thought after hearing the opening track followed by the CD’s title number, that this would be an introspective, mellow listening experience with a relaxing vibe. But as the tracks progressed it became much more, with beauty present but capable of going into totally different directions, much as in viewing abstract art with viewers seeing and feeling different emotions on seeing an art piece.
“Colorado” was simply stunning with Marriott’s solo heartbreakingly moving. Christiansen’s solo here ratchets up the melancholy mood that is heightened by the inclusion of the string quartet. “August” provides emotional support and love for Matt’s wife, Rebecca, who had lost her father. Again the strings provide their own support to the grieving family.
“Big Chief with the Golden Crown” the name of Chrisman’s 1987 acrylic/ wood on canvas painting begins a change in musical expression. I found this track to have a fusion flavor. Marriott’s horn brings to mind Miles Davis’ late 1960s work just prior to Davis strong electric period that Bitches Brew began. Matt makes use of Christiansen’s multi-faceted guitar talents here as well.
The thirty-four-second interlude, “The Armory” also signals that we are entering new territory. “Primal Scrip” edges into electric blues with Corey bending notes in a Jeff Beck style. Matt also puts his rock drumming skills to good use. It is almost like he is exorcising his demons.
The full-length version of “The Armory” shows off the bass talents of Dave Captein, and his solo takes honors in another composition that has a yearning, searching quality. “Dialogue 2008” takes us back to the early tracks, as a catharsis is being reached, with electric questions still being asked.
“Savage Grace” brings us back to the beauty of the opening three tracks. The liner notes reveal that Jorgensen asked Christiansen to play as if he was imagining what he might say to his wife before dying. Corey pours out his heart here, and the string quartet adds to the gut-wrenching emotion expressed.
Jorgensen has created a masterwork of beauty, complexity, and emotion. He honors the work and spirit of Dale Chisman. To hear this work live would be a stunning sensory experience. I highly recommend this CD.
TrackList: Space, Plane and Line, Tattooed by Passion, Colorado, August, Big Chief With a Golden Crown, The Armory (interlude), Primal Scrip, The Armory, Dialogue 2008, Fall, Savage Grace.
– Jeff Krow