James Falzone & KLANG – brooklyn lines…chicago spaces (2012)

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James Falzone is part of a young, resurgent cadre of clarinet players that also includes the likes of Ben Goldberg and Anat Cohen, determined to prove the continued vitality of this sometimes-forgotten wood instrument of jazz. Coming from the Windy City, Falzone has applied some of the AACM principles — as well the groundbreaking work of Jimmy Giuffre — in finding a place for the clarinet in 21st century jazz. Not an unhinged or particularly rambunctious clarinetist, the introspective Falzone mines for the tactful notes within the natural range of the instrument, exploring the outer rings of jazz without leaving tradition completely out of his sight.

His primary vehicle for realizing that kind of musical vision has for the last six years has been his KLANG band. Since 2006, he led his singular quartet through a trio of albums and next week a fourth will be added to their catalog. for brooklyn lines…chicago spaces, leads Jason Adasiewicz (vibes), Jason Roebke (bass and cracklebox) and Tim Daisy (drums) through nine originals and two group improvisations.

The last two KLANG records were built around Falzone influences; Tea Music salutes Giuffre, while Other Doors explores the artistry of the most famous clarinetist of all, Benny Goodman. brooklyn lines…chicago spaces is an apt title for an album that seems to bring together the abstraction and audacity that both scenes are known for. Much of KLANG’s uniqueness comes from the clarinet/vibes front, utilized in ways Goodman and Lionel Hampton didn’t quite imagine, going on the fringes of the harmonic realm of the song.

Compositions like “Ukrainian Village” (Youtube below) and “Brooklyn Lines” places the improvisational load equally among all four players (as well as the structured) parts; Daisy in particular excels in these settings. The angular, unexpected turns of suspenseful songs such as “Alone At The Brain” divulge another side to the complexity of Falzone’s songcraft. The group improvs “Chicago Spaces” and “Chicago Spaces (coda)” forgo mind bending freakouts for more contemplative explorations.

And then there’s “Carol’s Burger’s,” where Falzone swings like Goodman, even as Adasiewicz is tugging in an opposite harmonic direction. But as John Corbett, the writer of the album’s liner notes, makes clear, “Being rooted doesn’t mean repeating. Each line moves forwards, doesn’t slacken.” Those words encapsulate this album as a whole, and also neatly summarize KLANG itself.

brooklyn lines…chicago spaces, by Allos Documents, will go on sale at all major retail outlets September 18. Visit James Falzone’s website for more info.

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S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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