4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2006
I've been following Jeff Gauthier around for years, and I can honestly say that this is the most enjoyable album he's recorded under his own name. It's got all the Gauthier trademarks - his knack for finding lyricism even in the outest settings, great Eric von Essen tunes and a couple elegant originals, and a freakishly good group of improvisers playing with him - then wraps them all up in a perfectly balanced mix and an eye-popping package. Denizens of the L.A. jazz scene have long regarded Nels and Alex Cline as two of the strongest sidemen around, but it's really nice to hear David Witham and Joel Hamilton come into their own on this one, too. Just listen to them spacey keyboard sounds and pumping bass pistons on "Ahfufat." Between this and the earlier Ben Goldberg/Erik Friedlander releases, 2006 is already a banner year for Cryptogramophone, and it's only May.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2007
I had never heard of Jeff Gauthier before I bought this album, but I will without a doubt be getting more of his work. I stumbled across this album while researching the works of Nels Cline, who is probably my favorite guitarist ever.
I listened to a few songs and I was instantly hooked. I love the way Gauthier transforms the violin into a jazz instrument. His playing is unlike any I have heard before. In many of the songs, the guitar and violin will be playing the same line, or harmonizing (beautifully.)
As a surprse to me, every artist on this album is incredible. I would listen to a song and think; "wow, that bassist is good, I wonder what else he has done?"
Nels Cline is in his top form. He manages to beautifully float between structured playing and ambient, electronic, and sometimes even chaotic sounding effects. Fans of him will be far from dissapointed. It seems like Cline gets better with every album he releases.
Joel Hamilton is a superb bass player. He is so good, in fact, that I am surprised I had not heard of him before (I play bass myself). He knows exactly how to be prominent within a song without pushing the other instruments aside. His smooth and relaxed bass lines lay down a rock solid base (ha ha, it is a phonetic pun!) for every song.
David Witham is better than your average pianist as well. His piano playing is light and playful, and seems very relaxed. Without it, the songs would sound empty, and I believe that Witham really holds everything right where it should be.
Alex Cline is a very good percussionist. His drumming varies between comlex fills and driving beats to light and quiet jazz drum lines. And he is more than capable of playing it all; and playing it very, very well.
But the beauty of this album lies not in its individual members, but in how all of these brilliant musicians are able to work together. You can tell immediately that the members of the Goatette have been playing together for a while. They all know each other well, and each musician is able to feed off of the others. The songs are perfectly balanced; no one instrument ever stands out more than it should. They work together in order to create a song, but they also each step out in turn into the foreground and take a solo. And oh what solos...
The album art is very cool, too. The paint splatter on the front is the same as the design on the actual CD but there are five or six more of different colors when you open the CD up. This CD is from Cryptogramophone Records; and in my experience, their CD's all have beautiful packaging.
I could honestly keep writing more and more here. I could start picking apart each individual song; writing about what in it I like, and what I love. But in order to save you some time, I will simply close with a recommendation. This is a CD for fans of Gauthier, Nels Cline, the Goatette, or for anyone who enjoys listening to exceptional jazz. With all of the mediocre music flooding the market today, it is hard to sift through it all in order to find the real treasures. Well you, my friend, have just scooped a gold nugget up out of the dirt.