Joel Harrison is an illustrious guitarist and composer in the jazz circles and not to mention a great bandleader and he has put his many talents on his latest compilation called String Choir – The Music of Paul Motian which was released on January 23. Recapturing the music of straight-ahead jazz musician Paul Motian is no easy feat especially when the interpretation is within another genre; in this case classical. But Joel has pulled it off on this fully-stringed compilation that offers music on another plateau.
As with everything else, chamber music such as what is encapsulated here is indeed an acquired taste. If you are not into classical music you would find yourself struggling musically to grasp the pure intelligence and musical heights of this recording. The CD’s opener is the dreamy “It Should Have Happened a Long Time Ago” a track that gets its shine from a vulnerable sounding violin. Hear the quirky “Drum Music” a track that puts the drums and strings center stage in a piece that can well be labeled as musical art; it would work perfectly at a dance recital. Listen for the beguiling melodies on Beethoven’s “Cathedral Song” and “Owl of Cranston”, the latter with an arrangement that seem to mimic a bird in flight. Elsewhere on the CD are the futuristic-sounding moments that are within “Mumbo Jumbo” followed by “Split Decision” and the CD’s closer “From Time to Time”.