dimanche 21 février 2010


(self published, 2008)

Steve Moore is a young multi-instrumentalist from Seattle, Washington, playing amongst others trombone and keyboards. He is accompanied on this album by Doug Wieselman on reeds, Todd Sickafoose on bass, Matt Chamberlain on drums, Eyvind Kang on violin, and the album was produced by Tucker Martine. An all-star line-up of modern jazz, with Martine as a top producer of modern rock. In contrast to much jazz, the main focus of the album is the music on the one hand and the production, with lots of post-editing, on the other, less so on the performance or individual soloing. What you get is dense but light-footed music, conjuring up lots of atmospheric images. Martine's impact is clear, and those familiar with Mylab or some of Bill Frisell's later albums will recognize his influence, but the music is all Stebmo's, using jazz elements, Americana, and sound track-like ingredients with lots of dramatic effects. This is gentle music, intimate and calm, but combining joyful and playful elements with dark and menacing background harmonies or sounds. The first track "Waiting Game" sets the scene perfectly. And on one track, "Majika", I thought darkness and gloom would definitely conquer, but then Wieselman starts playing an almost joyful theme on his clarinet. This is slow to mid tempo mood music, carefully crafted and composed, with lots of attention to detail, and overall hard to compare with other music. But if you like Chris Speed's "Deviantics", Wayne Horvitz's "Sweeter Than The Day", or some of Matthew Shipp's work on his Thirsty Ear label, you start getting a gist of what you could hear here. An excellent debut.

Stef (www.freejazz-stef.blogspot.com)

A scene is only as good as its sidemen. Correction : a scene is its sidemen‚ because otherwise all we've got are songs and the people who wrote them. With jazz‚ the issue of who leads who is especially troublesome‚ as jazz‚ by definition‚ will not work without a conspiracy of many. In fact‚ sometimes it's the most unlikely conspiracies that birth the best music. STEBMO is a case in point. For a while now‚ keyboardist/trombonist Steve Moore has been a hero in the realm of linernotes. Having recorded and toured with artists as various as Skerik‚ Sufjan Stevens‚ Laura Veirs‚ Bill Frisell and sunnO)))‚ he's one of those guys you don't realize you already know and so dig in a creepy MySpace-stalker sort of way. STEBMO is his debutante ball. In a fitting move‚ Moore joined forces with drummer Matt Chamberlain‚ who has himself lurked in the not-so-deep-shadows of Marco Benevento‚ Brad Mehldau‚ Tori Amos and Critters Buggin to record a handful of florid tracks‚ owing perhaps most directly to Benevento's Invisible Baby. Ani DiFranco bassist Todd Sickafoose rounds out the core ensemble‚ but the contribution of string arrangements by Eyvind Kang (John Zorn‚ Laurie Anderson) and woodwind parts by Doug Wieselman render the album a collaborative sonic offering in the manner of which only sidemen are capable. Moore's simple piano tunes form the album's skeleton while architectural offerings on the part of the other instruments fill out its flesh. Favoring supportive collectivity over reaching ambition‚ there are few jaw-dropping solos here‚ only perfectly balanced songs that seem to have grown into precision‚ much like a well-groomed topiary. "Happy Ending" and "Majika" are gorgeous ballads that feature solitary clarinets and humble electronics. There's nothing light about "Dark Circle" or "Holding Pattern" though‚ as Moore digs into his grand piano much like the virtuosos Chamberlain has made his name supporting. Most tracks are gravely mature in their emotional depth‚ but with "Blind Ross" the band proves they can have a good New Orleans-style laugh. At the heart of a burgeoning jazz scene resigned to define its terms in relative obscurity‚ STEBMO is an album that could be easily swept under the rug. As content as these cats would be to mingle with the dust motes though‚ it would be a shame to see this one go by unnoticed.

Josh Potter (www.stateofmindmusic.com)


1 commentaire:

corvimax a dit…

i enjoyed this one thank you