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Subtextures by Ron Horton

It always seems that the Fresh Sound/New Talent label brings together inspiring musicians. "Subtextures" is no exception. This one features Rob Horton accompanied by the incendiary trio of Kimbrough, Allison and Wilson. Together they have played to as part of the Herbie Nichols Project. While the Project’s acclaimed "Strange City" relied on archival material from this overlooked composer, most of the pieces on "Subtextures" are written by Horton.

What links these two albums are more than personnel, the music possesses a similar atmosphere. There is a kind of smoky urbanity in the music. Take ‘Ruminations.’ This is a slow stream-of-consciousness piece that meanders in different directions, like someone walking home amidst the traffic that one does not hear, thinking and pausing about different strands of ideas or emotions, which are not clear and by no means certain. There is ambiguity about ever reaching home. ‘Ruminations’ is a highly complex piece that is both gorgeous and mysterious.

As are the rest of the Horton pieces. ‘Mutability’ has a weird and wonderful sense. The sounds of the street are never in synch, they are seemingly random; the improvisation of this piece captures this uncertainty quality. At the beginning, the piece sounds convivial but then it turns aggressive as in the argument between the trumpet and the piano. And then it simply bursts into outrage.

On ‘O Sacred and Holy Feast,’ an early choral work by French classical composer, Olivier Messiaen, Horton uses its reflective, pastoral qualities. Horton’s phrasing is confident and sublime. And again, on the final piece, ‘Etude’ by Frederic Chopin, there is quiet and peaceful resolution. The piece is played to perfection by Horton and his band.

‘Subtextures’ is highly recommended.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Ron Horton
  • CD Title: Subtextures
  • Genre: BeBop / Hard Bop
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Fresh Sound / New Talent
  • Tracks: Ron Horton (trumpet/flugelhorn), Frank Kimbrough (piano), Ben Allison (bass), Matt Wilson (drums)
  • Musicians: Cantarnos, Malaby, Ruminations, Subtextures, O Sacrum Convivium, Rumors, Mutability, Etude
  • Rating: Five Stars
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