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Dark Flame
Uri Caine, Wolfgang Kläsener, Julie Paton
Dark Flame
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, New Age, Pop
 
With his forays into Brazilian music, hip-hop, and Bach, musical boundaries have no meaning for the Philadelphia-born pianist Uri Caine. On this CD, Caine takes on composer Gustav Mahler. Caine, along with his jazz compani...  more »

      
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With his forays into Brazilian music, hip-hop, and Bach, musical boundaries have no meaning for the Philadelphia-born pianist Uri Caine. On this CD, Caine takes on composer Gustav Mahler. Caine, along with his jazz companions, clarinetist Don Byron and trumpeter Ralph Alessi, expand and elaborate on 14 of Mahler's lieders. With his spry allusions to Herbie Hancock and Glenn Gould, Caine manages to "keep it real" in the classical tradition, and introduce jazz and world themes into these compositions. Augmented by an eclectic array of singers, actors, and poets, Caine and company manage to pull of a musical mutiny of pleasing proportions with the inclusion of opera, Hebraic, and Germanic concert music. The title track is a mournful elegy to the atrocities of Columbine and the Holocaust while "Labor Lost" riffs on Freudian psychoanalysis. "The Lonely One in Autumn" and "On Youth," adapted from Mahler's "Das Lied von der Erde," breathe with an Asian atmosphere, thanks to the Silk Road sonorities of the Chinese erhu, dizi, and pipa instruments. Mahler remarked that, "I am thrice homeless. As a Bohemian born in Austria. As an Austrian among Germans. And as a Jew throughout the world." Uri Caine's expansive art is a welcome home for Mahler's restless and rootless genius. --Eugene Holley, Jr.

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CD Reviews

I'VE HEARD OF NICHE MARKETS....
NotATameLion | Michigan | 01/28/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"...And we all have a niche (were made for our niches) but...

Why is it that when one discusses Uri Caine, one only gets to the actual music as the last thing, if you ever get to discussing the music at all?

For those of you who don't know Uri (a jazzman and an avant-garde guy--if ever there was one--at play in the fields of giants like Mahler--here and in Primal Light--as well as Bach--I can't recommend his Goldbergs enough) this is who he is. When you get to know his stuff, you'll see the irony in that statement.

To get to the music--

Do not pull out. Do not dissect. If you're gonna give Uri Caine his due (I think you should at least give his works a once over), then you need to hear this stuff as a whole work; just like you'd treat with Mahler's stuff. Stepping into Two Blue Eyes or Song of the Prisoner in the Tower without perspective will make you run the other way.

However, taken as a whole, I find myself absorbed into the sound worlds Uri creates in Dark Flame. It's a little like coming down off the mountain when you're done.

This music makes me feel strangely closer to Mahler as well.

I can't think of a better recommendation for this work than that.

Dark Flame won't be everybody's cup of tea. But this is no novelty. It is a singular brew worth trying at least once."
Very difficult
Anthony Cooper | Louisville, KY United States | 01/03/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I got this one because I'm familiar with Uri's playing with Dave Douglas. I figured it might be a strange album, but I underestimated how strange it was for me. This album doesn't have much jazz in it. The title track, "Shining Trumpets", and "St. Anthony" are the jazziest ones, and my favorites. Many of the other songs have voiceovers, most commonly a German voice which sounds like it was taken from "Cabaret". There's also some spoken English and Chinese. Since I'm unfamiliar with the context, and German and Chinese languages, the spoken pieces don't grab me.

I just found it difficult to listen to, and it doesn't make a lot of sense to me as a whole. This album may be a five-star album for someone else."
Two great tastes that go great together! Caine and Mahler
poorwerther | annapolis, maryland United States | 06/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Stark, Lush, Beautiful, Horrid, Moving and startling. Uri and Gustav do again and again. The arrangements and the absolute music are of the highest level. If you've not heard these works, do it now!"