Tag Archives: spirabassi’s improkofiev

Madre Vaca, Winterreise | The Vinyl Anachronist

Just a few days after writing a review on jazz arrangements for Prokofiev, I’ve stumbled upon another CD in the review pile that takes classical compositions and arranges them for a jazz ensemble. In this case we’re talking about the eight-member “jazz collective” known as Madre Vaca and their new album Winterreise, which uses music from Franz Schubert to draw a complex and varied study of melancholia while using many different types of ensembles. Drummer-pianist Benjamin Shorstein arranged these pieces to take advantage of Madre Vaca’s ability to create a multitude of perspectives, with constantly changing moods and sounds. Schubert based his own composition on 24 poems by Wilhelm Muller, which focus on “the story of a rejected man who left his beloved’s home to wander away in the middle of a winter night.” That sounds dreary and full of sadness, but Madre Vaca approaches this subject matter as a way to reflect on our emotions, and how we are sometimes led down a path that’s dark, scary and cold. Through the use of such strong voices as saxophone (Juan Rollan), trumpet (Steve Strawley), trombone (Lance Reed) and guitar (Jarrett Carter), Madre Vaca seems determined to show us the lifelong [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile

Spirabassi’s Improkofiev | The Vinyl Anachronist

What’s an improkofiev? For that matter, what’s a spirabassi? Spirabassi‘s Improkofiev has one of those inscrutable album covers, letters going every which way, so it’s hard to figure out what this CD’s about without listening. Here’s the low down: soprano sax player Stephane Spira has teamed up with pianist Giovanni Mirabassi, along with drummer Donald Kontomanou and bassist Steve Wood, to record this album, which is called Improkofiev. It includes a jazz arrangement of Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.1–a favorite composition from one of my favorite classical composers. Spirabassi is the name of this quartet, and Improkofiev refers to the fact that only “excerpts” of Prokofiev’s angular yet stunning themes appear. My first reaction to ideas explored in Spirabassi’s Improkofiev was oh, this is like the Jacques Loussier Trio performing all those fabulous jazz arrangements for popular Johann Sebastian Bach compositions. Spirabassi doesn’t restrict itself by sticking solely to Prokofiev, which I have to admit is an album I would buy in a second. Instead, the quartet runs through a few tracks first before launching into the three-part suite, giving us superb and lush interpretations of Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie No.1, Carla Bley’s “Lawns” and a couple of original tunes from Spira. The [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile