Byzantine Monkey

Byzantine Monkey

by John Hebert
     
 
After many years apprenticing as a progressive jazz sideman, bassist John Hebert arrives as a leader with Byzantine Monkey, a title inspired by his wife, and the peculiar dualities of his Louisiana heritage merged with a contemporary living situation in New York City. These pieces are written for three challenging and inventive

Overview

After many years apprenticing as a progressive jazz sideman, bassist John Hebert arrives as a leader with Byzantine Monkey, a title inspired by his wife, and the peculiar dualities of his Louisiana heritage merged with a contemporary living situation in New York City. These pieces are written for three challenging and inventive woodwind players in saxophonists Tony Malaby and Michael Attias, alongside flutist and bass clarinetist Adam Kolker. The music has an overall somber and winsome tone, saddened by circumstance but not at all unhappy or dour. Instead, there's depth and substance to Hebert's personalized concept toward original new music, shaded or accented, but not powered by his supple basslines, and the percussion musings of Satoshi Takeishi and drummer Nasheet Waits. There are some inferences to modern mainstream jazz, but it's mostly a music straddling both composed and spontaneous improvisation, heady and heavy, but not in the strictest sense. An earthy Malaby, pungent Attias, and resonant Kolker somehow coalesce as one in tone-poem, Zen-like consciousness on many of these pieces, including the diffuse end-of-the-world mantra "Run for the Hills" sidled by clattering percussion, the solemn "Blind Pig," and the similarly evinced, long-toned "Ciao Monkey." In a tribute to Hebert's mentor and former bandmate, the late Andrew Hill, "For A.H." is a requiem/epilogue bass solo that leads to the saxes acting as pall bearers. "Acrid Landscape" sounds like several tales of deceit woven together in a 6/8 bass/bass clarinet ostinato, "Cajun Christmas" is more celebratory and optimistic courtesy of Kolker's flute, and "Fez" and "Fez II" features either the percussionists working out in a 9/8 meter with definite Middle Eastern elements, or the saxes jamming in short-shout choruses. The opening track, "La Reine de la Salle" has a vocal sample of Odile Falcon, a Cajun folk artist that sets up an Albert Ayler church-ghost visage for the cage-rattling triad of reed players. Even the listener whose taste leads toward challenging music will want to listen to this recording more than once to glean all of the various expressionist layers extant. The reward is somewhat hidden deep inside this unique, absorbing, cryptic music, but it is definitely there.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/18/2009
Label:
Firehouse 12 Records
UPC:
0616892007067
catalogNumber:
401010
Rank:
172834

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John Hebert   Primary Artist,Bass
Adam Kolker   Flute,Bass Clarinet,Alto Flute
Satoshi Takeishi   Percussion
Nasheet Waits   Drums
Tony Malaby   Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Michaël Attias   Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone

Technical Credits

Michael Marciano   Engineer
Satoshi Takeishi   Composer
Taylor Ho Bynum   Producer
Traditional   Composer
John Hebert   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes
Nick Lloyd   Producer
Megan Craig   Illustrations
Mike Marciano   Engineer
Takeishi   Composer

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