Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Soft Lights & Sweet Music
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
Good, clean--albeit a little weird--fun. Also essential.
Jan P. Dennis | Monument, CO USA | 06/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I own six Clusone 3 discs. Alas, this is the only one available on Amazon.com. What a shame. This Dutch/American outfit played some of the most engaging small-group jazz around during its decade-long existence, circa 1990-1999.Thorough-going post-modernists, Michael Moore (alto sax, clarinets, melodica, and celeste), Ernst Reijseger (cello), and Han Bennik (drums, percussion) excelled at deconstructing (and, usually, reconstructing) standards. This disc perfectly demonstrates their approach. Here they rip apart and put back together the Irving Berlin songbook--but always in a respectful, sometimes playful, sometimes even loving manner. Take for example their treatment of "For the Folks Back Home/Dancing Cheek to Cheek." They turn these chestnuts into a rousing, delightful, slightly manic Calypso-medley. "What'll I Do" gets the faux-morose treatment, complete with an inebriated celeste, some irreverent Bennik drumming, and Reijseger strumming softly away on his cello. The tinkly celeste outro brings a happy-sad close to these slightly off-kilter proceedings.Some of the tunes, such as "How Deep Is the Ocean," with its bizarre melodica passage, its pizzicato/walking bass line, and Bennik's arrhythmic drums, are so transformed as to be nearly unrecognizable. Or "Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor," with its alto blats and squeals intro segueing into a truly-mournful-but-still-undergirt-by-playfulness vibe. Sometimes they almost play it straight, as on ?Always,? but their reading comes across so conventional-sounding as to stick out by virtue of its ordinariness. And then they?re always right back it, as on the nearly unrecognizable follow-up, ?Cuckoo in the Clock? (though even here bits of sanity can?t resist bubbling up through the general chaos). ?White Christmas? is perhaps their crow(n)ing achievement with this approach. Little snatches of melody peek through Reijseger?s otherwise murky cello strummings, while a jaunty melodica plays nonsense chords and Bennik cheerfully bashes away on his kit. When Moore finally comes in on alto sax with the melody, it?s played below the normal range for an alto, and comes out sounding--at least to me--what it feels like late Christmas morning when the last of too many presents has been ungratefully opened by sated nieces and nephews.Yes, it's all about sensibility with these guys, and I can't help thinking that they blazed the trail for some of the downtown scene, as well as the Left Coast weirdness of, say, EZ Pour Spout.One might think this approach would wear out its welcome rather quickly. Not so. There's enough tonal/rhythmic variety, sheer brilliance, and true musical thoughtfulness--not to mention plenty of wild-card, wacky jocularity--to keep things pretty much always interesting."