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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Throw Down Your Hammer And Sing - Sheldon Siegel (Smeraldina-Rima, 2013) ***½

By Stef 

This LP is a little bit of a strange beast because the two sides are split between two bands. On the first side, you ca nhear "Throw Down Your Hammer And Sing", the trio consisting of Nate Wooley, Fred Lonberg-Holm and Jason Roebke, while the second side is performed by Sheldon Siegel, a trio with Erik Heestermans on percussion, Gerard Herman on sax and Gino Coomans on cello, and all on several other instruments.

Let's start with "Throw Down Your Hammer And Sing", whose music I could not appreciate five years ago, and it generated one of my few negative reviews, yet keeping options open for changing tastes over time, and while I have not listened to the original CD again, I must say that I really do appreciate the music here. It is quiet and intimate, with trumpet, bass and cello interacting in a quite open and subtle way, almost gentle despite the three musicians spontaneous inclination to move to beyond expectations and beyond the listener's comfort zone, and that's what they do here to, yet it sounds great. Tastes do change!

Then we get Sheldon Siegel playing a kind of suite with the great title "Vele Hammen Maken Nog Geen Zwijn" ("many hams do not make a pig"), and in fact their music is stylistically not too different from Side A on the album, even if the overall sound is a little more violent and abrasive, but always intense and interesting. They also want to go beyond comfort zones - something they really achieve - and it may take some repeated listening to become sufficiently familiar with the material to appreciate it all, but the technical quality is apparent at a first listen.

The LP is available in 190 copies only, but the album can be downloaded from Bandcamp.


AGM said...

Nate's "Throw Down Your Hammer" on Porter seemed quite challenging when it appeared. It took me a couple of listens to be able to begin to access the music. Now I am inclined to think it is the best thing he has done: absolutely individual, truly avant, filled with mystery and courage. I would take this over all his Clean Feed MOR productions of late.