Category: Greg Burk

Jazz review: Billy Childs and Kronos Quartet at Walt Disney Hall

March 12, 2012 |  2:04 pm

Niceness met vision in an ambitious collision of jazz and neoclassical at Disney Hall on Sunday night. Niceness won.

Although the Grammy-winning talents of Billy Childs, Kronos Quartet and Bill Frisell packed potential for chemistry, the energies tended to dissipate.

The intensity focused mid-evening with the pointy-booted Kronos, whose stand-alone segment brought industrial aspiration to the agitated "Aheym (Homeward)," by Bryce Dessner of the art-pop group the National.

The four bows stroked and slapped with familial elasticity, bringing out the composition's snap-back power and hypnotic magnetism. Frank Gehry's airy modern hall was built for this.

Childs' all-star quartet glowed with a Californian spirituality, the pianist's "Aaron's Song" and "Hope in the Face of Despair" owing as much to film music as to jazz. Despite the klezmer plaint of Steve Wilson's saxophones, the latter piece would have seemed little more than pondering puzzlement if Childs hadn't credited its inspiration to "Maus," Art Spiegelman's dark comix biography of his Auschwitz-survivor father.

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Jazz review: Guitarist Timothy Young at Little Temple

December 28, 2011 |  1:07 pm

Timothy Young copy
He wasn't on tour. His band hadn't met in months. His new record didn't even have a label yet.

But guitarist Timothy Young and his far-flung trio mates found their calendars intersecting in Los Angeles, so they knocked together a "pre-release party" Tuesday at East Hollywood's Little Temple. An inspiration, it turned out.

Tumbleweed Young forsook Seattle for Tinseltown five years ago in search of session gold. Besides captaining his own projects, he's made lasting runs with eclectic keyboardist Wayne Horvitz, veteran jazz violinist Michael White and omnivorous Brit rocker David Sylvian, and has worked with a range of artists from Beck to Fiona Apple.

Young's upcoming "Gravitational Lensing," though, sounds like a hellbent blast from his youth. (He's 41.) Dinosaur riffs, space trips and heavy stoner blues dominate, lightened with intervals of Renaissance pluck, horse-drawn folk and punk jazz, and shaded with an artful palette of fuzzy to shivery guitar tones.

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Jazz review: Daniel Rosenboom Septet, Slumgum at Royal/T

December 8, 2011 |  2:35 pm

The Daniel Rosenboom Septet
Guys with spectacles and 1889 Van Gogh beards playing jazz in an art gallery: The Daniel Rosenboom Septet (plus two) and Slumgum looked right at home at Culver City's Royal/T on Wednesday.

Sharing an open, coloristic aesthetic born from common roots in CalArts' music school, these two younger groups demonstrated how a palette squeezed from multiple genres and cultures is obscuring jazz's always-changing foundations.

The quartet Slumgum (a term for beehive residue) opened with a relaxed set keynoted by Jon Armstrong's warm tenor sax. The drums and bass of Trevor Anderies and Dave Tranchina switched from pushy groove to breezy scatter while Rory Cowal, on a house piano wildly cartooned by East Village artist Kenny Scharf, hinted at Vienna and India, Spain and Coltrane.

Slumgum switched moods -- pastoral, cheerful, meditative, romantic -- yet retained a casual group identity formed by years of collaboration, and maintained a web-like hold on the audience. It could play anywhere.

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