Sunday, January 30, 2005
Mark Feldman: Book of Tells.
Mark Feldman is a fantastic violinist and improviser. He's been a session player and side man for many projects from John Zorn to Jimmy Swaggart to the Arcado String Trio. Book of Tells is a great way to experience his compositions with his own group that happens to be the venerable chamber medium of string quartet. He adds five new pieces to the literature that draw upon his experience and talent as an improvising virtuoso.
Anchoring this particular ensemble is fellow New York "downtowner" Erik Friedlander on cello. His sound and approach is unmistakable and adds a great deal to the success of this project. This quartet grooves with confidence and plays with aggressive verve. It's a cohesive ensemble rather than a vehicle for showcasing Feldman. Which is why Book of Tells transcends mere genre-mixing. There's no self-conscious mixing of jazz and classical here.
In the end it's the quality of the compositions that make this a compelling listen. "Windsor Quartet" is particularly well done. It opens with a great violin cadenza before moving into some fluidly melodic material for quartet. Mark Feldman put some serious creative energy into this project and the end result is deeply satisfying.