Slow Dance At The Asylum


aec.cdb5637396216.2 7/13/04 New
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    Slow Dance At The Asylum Molly Flannery Quintet

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Review Text Massachusetts-based pianist Molly Flannery makes her literary and classical influences explicit on this quirky, inspired album. Track one is a hip, lengthy arrangement of Debussy's "La Cathédrale Engloutie," the grooving impressionism of which recalls the Brian Blade Fellowship. Two free improvisations, "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" and "Chant of Paradise," were inspired by the poets Walt Whitman and Wallace Stevens, respectively. Trombonist Steve Elliot actually recites the Whitman text, and the Stevens verse is printed on the inside of the sleeve, all of which puts the listener directly in contact with Flannery's extra-musical reference points. On the surface, Slow Dance at the Asylum is a jazz quintet album, with Flannery joined by Elliot, saxophonist Tom Zicarelli, bassist Jane Wang, and drummer Michael Zank. (Bassist John Turner and drummer John McLellan sit in on two of the ten tracks.) But there are a number of unusual twists, in addition to the aforementioned poetry: two guest appearances by the unique vocalist Melissa Kassel; wordless vocals by Zank and Flannery at various junctures; Portuguese lyrics written by Flannery and sung by Steve Elliot on Jon Simmons's beautiful "Sad Not Mad." Flannery's originals range from the insistent groove of "Seven" to the tranquil 6/8 of "Island Reverie" to the shimmering, brief solo piano of "Bittersweet." The title track, written by Zicarelli, proceeds as a fairly straightforward jazz ballad, but indistinct voices mutter throughout the tune, like the proverbial crazy aunt in the attic. Though all involved are clearly strong jazz players, the emphasis here is on understated communication and unusual ensemble textures rather than straight-ahead blowing. ~ David R. Adler

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Cathédrale Engloutie
  2. 2. I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face
  3. 3. Slow Dance at the Asylum
  4. 4. Seven
  5. 5. Sad Not Mad
  6. 6. Island Reverie
  7. 7. Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking
  8. 8. For Kim (1958-1990)
  9. 9. Chant of Paradise
  10. 10. Bittersweet

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