(Peter Primamore, piano & Fender Rhodes, plus 13-performer ensemble incl. Antoine Silverman, violin; David Eggar, cello; Tony Levin, bass; Charles Pillow & Tim Moran, reeds; all compositions and some arrangements: Peter Primamore; additional arrangements: Larry Chernicoff)
This is a most enjoyable chamber-jazz-oriented selection of a dozen compositions, which are mixed to make the most compelling use of the five-channel surround option of SACD. It demonstrates the recently enhanced ease of recording and production using DSD technology, making it possible for independent musicians such as Primamore to turn out a thoroughly professional package such as this hybrid CD/SACD.
The pianist/composer/arranger sought to create an organic music in Grancia, so everyone heard on each track was together in the studio at the same time, and only a few overdubs were made. No samplers or synths were used, and the overall feeling of most tracks reminded me of a 21st-century, more world music-oriented, version of some of the chamber music jazz I enjoyed so much in the 1950s. Primamore wants listeners to be moved by the expressiveness of his music, and many of his pieces do project a strong emotional message. Crossing Over is a simple duo improvisation between an oboe and harp, while others utilize nearly all of the 13 musicians available. The Book of Erin Flowers has a fantastical story attached to it and is a moving statement from the small chamber ensemble. The most dense of the pieces is Russia Through Your Eyes, which immediately caught my eyes by its description in the notes as “Scriabin channeling Led Zeppelin with strings.”
The surround mix would be a wonderful demo to convince two-channel diehards of the attractions of music in surround. It doesn’t blast at you from the surround channels, but often the piano and other lead instruments issue forth from the sides/rear – so you may appreciate it more if you don’t have pip-squeak speakers for your surround channels. All the instruments come across very cleanly and naturally – it really does sound more “organic” than most such surround recordings. Primamore’s publishing arm is named Very Naked Music, and that seems to sum up the general approach here.
TrackList: Silver Stones, Chatham, Crossing Over, Mill Walk, Broken Promise, The Book of Erin Flowers, Free Western, Windswept, Winter in Paris, I’m Sorry, Russian Through Your Eyes, Lullaby/ Elegy
– John Sunier