Jazz Concerts Celebrate Met Opera Composers on an Intimate Scale

Jazz Concerts Celebrate Met Opera Composers on an Intimate Scale

The International Contemporary Ensemble’s Skirball show on Saturday similarly showed the value of presenting Davis’s music on a chamber scale. It opened with “Clonetics,” the concluding fifth movement of a dance piece originally commissioned for Molissa Fenley and Dancers. The full work is on the lamentably out-of-print album “Hemispheres,” some of whose delirious rhythmic and motivic designs Davis later incorporated into “X.”

On Saturday, “Clonetics” reasserted itself as a distinct, chiseled marvel: a world of overlapping rhythmic designs that split and recombine for eight explosive, finely conceived minutes. The percussionist Pheeroan akLaff, who participated in the original recording of “Hemispheres,” provided grounding and effectively conducted the ensemble from behind his kit. The younger members also played with admirable poise; they even provided a greater range of dynamics compared with the album, and the trumpeter Hugo Moreno took advantage of Davis’s invitation to improvise.

From there, the ensemble moved on to the Balinese-inflected “Wayang No. II,” which, like “Clonetics,” is from the 1980s. And like “Clonetics,” this work gets a lot of its juice from collisions of unusual rhythms. In the program notes, Davis specified that, early in the piece, a 5/4 vibraphone pattern is set against a marimba line in 7/4, and a piano in 11/4. Despite the complexity, the piano, strings, brasses, winds and percussion brought a Swiss-watch ease to Davis’s wheels-within-wheels structure that, clicking into place, was glorious.

I’ve long wanted Davis’s past albums to be reissued, but what if the International Contemporary Ensemble just recorded new versions? And when Davis next hit the stage to produce a short, improvisatory set of piano variations on his “Wayang” series — rich with variations of melody, rhythm and pedal effects — I was also reminded that we need more solo recitals from him, too.

Davis said in a 2022 interview that he has enjoyed “being this ‘underground’ person” who travels between jazz festivals and opera houses, and that “not everyone sees the whole thing.” A similar demurral transpired during Blanchard’s retrospective. He, like Davis, gave generous space to younger colleagues.

In that regard, Blanchard and Davis don’t have Morton’s boastfulness. That’s easier, of course, when you already have the imprimatur of the Met on your side. But this weekend’s concerts showed that both of these composers have earned their bragging rights across musical disciplines.

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »
Scroll to Top
Donald Trump Could Be Bitcoin’s Biggest Price Booster: Experts USWNT’s Olympic Final Standard Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting Highlights What to see in New York City galleries in May Delhi • Bomb threat • National Capital Region • School