House of Return

House of Return

by Jeff Gauthier Goatette

CD

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Overview

House of Return

Violinist Jeff Gauthier must be the most underappreciated jazz violinist in the Western world. A wonderfully literate and skilled technician with chops and soul to burn, Gauthier always delivers a smorgasbord of creative improvised sounds that vary from the traditional to the progressive, with many stops in between. Perhaps it is because he is somewhat isolated from the national and international scene by living in California and plays with a group of musicians with different career paths. No matter the criteria, Gauthier is a musician who should be paid attention to, and this excellent project will launch his star further onward and outward. Featuring more than able help from electric guitarist Nels Cline and Nels' brother, drummer Alex Cline, as well as unsung pianist David Witham and bassist Joel Hamilton, the Jeff Gauthier Goatette have a giant launching pad to spring forth into action. The CD starts innocently enough with the pretty waltz "Biko's Blues," shaded by Witham's piano buoying a reverent violin/guitar line, and ends with the wary, deconstructed "Dissolution," both compositions of former bandmate and bassist Eric Von Essen. But the recording gets edgy from there on as the untamed, zoological "Friends of the Animals" takes on unscripted multiple scattered and brittle voices from Gauthier, Witham's Fender Rhodes piano, and hard contrasts in a funky, soupy marinade. The title track has Nels Cline at his best, scraping and raking up gold leaves of discontent or playing tiny fragile notes informing free bop to 6/8 swing, with solos from Gauthier and Hamilton that sing. There's a definite feeling, as cued by the instrumentation, of the original Mahavishnu Orchestra, where telepathic rhythm changes occur frequently, made contemporary by noise and a jazzier order of things. Alex Cline's 12-and-a-half-minute composition "Dizang" lives up to the name of his publishing company, Singing Feather Music. Even-keeled no-time ruminations lead to heavy, louder, intense, and calmed jamming without bar lines. There is also an overall feeling of shared goals, as everyone writes and performs this music with equal balance. Other highlights include the epic, steely, space rock/British prog rock cut "Satellites and Sideburns" and the plod-funk "I.O.A.," again featuring electric instruments. The artwork depicts paintings of flash cards representing a goat, a house, an iguana, a duck, an octopus, a rhinoceros, a fiddle, and the key component -- jam. While Gauthier's previous recordings bear certain notice, this one, with such a united front of spectacular creative improvisers, deserves to be touted as it is -- one of the best CDs of 2008.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/10/2008
Label: Cryptogramophone
UPC: 0671860013921
catalogNumber: 139

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