2003, Music

Abaton (2003) by Sylvie Courvoisier, Mark Feldman, Erik Friedlander

So to make this super confusing, apparently the idea here was to actually credit this trio as Abaton rather than the record, despite the fact that there are at least three other bands in the world with that name. It’s a popular idea, I guess, sleeping in temples…

I am a huge Erik Friedlander (cello) fan but I had not much heard Sylvie Courvoiosier¬† (piano) before – though I believe I’ve heard Feldman, on violin, a number of times on some Tzadik stuff. But the three mesh pretty well together.

The first disc is what you might call the “modern creative” side of the trio – composed works that could easily pass as chamber jazz, given their sound – and the label they were released on! – but which were apparently conceived ahead of time. This is the point at which genres don’t matter any more, when someone writes out music that sounds like jazz and then hires jazz musicians to perform it.

The second disc is totally improvised. It says a lot about the state of both contemporary “classical” music and chamber jazz that one could easily confuse which was the improvised set and which was the written one (at least much of the time).

The playing is exceptional and they occasionally hit upon incredible moments of musical ecstasy. But this is only something you will be into if you already like chamber jazz. Certainly it is a little long for an entry point to those who don’t know the genre.

8/10

Disc One: All compositions by Sylvie Courvoisier

  1. “Ianicum” – 19:55
  2. “Orodruin” – 12:33
  3. “Poco a Poco” – 9:24
  4. “Abaton” – 11:29

Disc Two: All improvisations by Sylvie Courvoisier, Mark Feldman and Erik Friedlander

  1. ” Icaria 1″ – 4:04
  2. “Imke’s” – 2:08
  3. “Icaria 2” – 3:30
  4. “Clio” – 2:46
  5. “Nova Solyma” – 4:42
  6. “Spensonia” – 3:38
  7. “Octavia” – 3:34
  8. “Icaria 3” – 2:37
  9. “Sonnante” – 3:37
  10. “The Scar of Lotte” – 1:35
  11. “Turoine” – 1:04
  12. “Archaos” – 3:37
  13. “Ava’s” – 1:30
  14. “Brobdingnag” – 1:29
  15. “Calonack” – 2:55
  16. “Precioso” – 2:46
  17. “Sekel” – 1:26
  18. “Izaura” – 2:51
  19. “Narnia” – 1:50
  • Sylvie Courvoisier – piano
  • Mark Feldman – violin
  • Erik Friedlander – cello

 

  • Engineered by Jan Erik Kongshaug
  • Cover photography by Roberto Masotti
  • Design by Sascha Kleis
  • Liner photos by Deborah Feingold
  • Produced by Manfred Eicher

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