By Paul Acquaro
There is an energy in Brooklyn. Pushed out of Manhattan by escalating rents and rampant suburbanization, artists and musicians are taking over industrial spaces and occupying neighborhoods. It's an old story by now (and one past its prime in some neighborhoods) but one that inspired Chicago based clarinetist James Falzone's latest album Brooklyn Lines -- Chicago Spaces.
In his release notes, Falzone explains "I became fascinated by the lines I was seeing all around in the pavement, ironworks, cracks in the walls, graffiti, you name it." Drawing from his week long residency in Brooklyn, Falzone then drew upon some of the Chicago based musicians that are no strangers to the readers of this blog, vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Tim Daisy, to help bring to life this collection of compelling compositions and inspired improvisations. In his liner notes, John Corbet suggests the influences of clarinetist John Carter, Ornette Coleman, and Jimmy Giuffre on Falzone's approach to this set. Quite an inspiring line-up!
'Brooklyn Lines' kicks things off with a delicate and sunny melody on clarinet. Falzone is shadowed by Adasiewicz's vibraphone, playing a quirky counter melody. But the light hearted fare is simply a teaser, leading up to the rhythm section kicking in and quickly providing a driving accompaniment that introduces some wonderful drama to the atmosphere. Daisy's drums and Roebke's bass are driving, meticulous and moving. Throughout, Adasiewicz's vibraphone is lush and provocative. His playing gives the music a texture that fills in and shades behind the woodwind. As a group, they achieve a driving sound that is at the same time light and buoyant.
'Ukrainian Village' begins with a frenetic melody, the vibes adding to the festiveness. The pacing is exhilarating and the song soon opens up to a very free section where Falzone's clarinet and some sort of electronics make for a high energy exchange. The contrast between the vibes and clarinet continues to mesmerize in the following 'Alone in the Brain', but here, the drums enter the conversation freely, accentuating off beats and accents in creative ways. Throughout the album, the melodies and counter melodies are imaginative and creative and the rhythm section ably supports and pushes the music forward.
Falzone's music is seductively easy to enjoy. The more you listen, the more depth, crosscurrents and patterns you realize. It is quite easy to recommend this one highly.
You can buy the album from instantjazz.com.