Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The Hapless Child and Other Inscrutable Stories
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Listen to Samples
A Dreadful Pleasure
Michael W. Draine | Acton, MA United States | 02/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Despite author/illustrator Edward Gorey's eminence in American popular culture, Michael Mantler's inspired treatment of Gorey's darkly comic poetry has eluded the audience it deserves. Performed by a stellar ensemble featuring Robert Wyatt on vocals, Carla Bley on keyboards, Terje Rypdal on electric guitar, Stephen Swallow on bass guitar, and Jack DeJohnette on drums, "The Hapless Child" clocks in at a brief but utterly enthralling 34 minutes. Wyatt is startlingly well-cast, his thick British accent redolent of the macabre, his airy, high-register quail suddenly shifting into a chilling tremelo unheard elsewhere in his work. In hindsight, Gorey's themes of child exploitation and Victorian decadence dovetail neatly with Wyatt's anti-imperial politics. (In a late `80s interview, Mantler expressed frustration with the fact that Wyatt's contribution to Mantler's 1988 album "Many Have No Speech" was curtailed by Wyatt's refusal to recite any poetry he considered politically incorrect.) Bley wrests an array of fearful atmospheres from her string synthesizer, while Rypdal's stinging leads seethe with an air of encroaching disaster. Mantler's sweeping, cinematic arrangements may be the most rock-oriented work of a career spanning jazz and classical composition. A perusal of Edward Gorey's 1972 anthology "Amphigorey" (in which the six tales are collected) reveals the artist's own illustrations as but pale shadows of the dire imagery these musical interpretations conjure in the listener's inner eye. --Michael Draine"