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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Daniel Levin Quartet - Live At Roulette (Clean Feed, 2009) ****½

Cellist Daniel Levin keeps pushing his own musical boundaries. With his former quartet release, "Blurry", he already partly moved away from compositional structure, but with this album he completely drops melody and fixed rhythms. Nate Wooley is still on trumpet, and Mat Moran on vibes, but now Peter Bitenc plays bass instead of Joe Morris. Doing away with melody and rhythm, has also decreased the density of the music, creating a light texture of sounds that come and go to form a single musical unity, while maintaining the chamber-like approach and lyricism of his previous album, except for two pieces, called "Lightspeed Particles" where the title aptly describes the piece's feel, full of wild intensity and sound collisions. The music flows organically, growing as it moves along, with instruments coming and going, like birds or bees passing by, coming and going, yet all taking part in the same unpredictable yet not unfamiliar scenery. Despite the apparent freedom, it all sounds very focused and coherent and it was possibly discussed before playing, or maybe not, and these four stellar musicians are just so good and so used to playing together, that this symbiosis of fragile and raw sounds was created spontaneously. Highly recommended for those with open ears.

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