Stephen Horenstein

Collages: Jerusalem '85

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AllMusic Review by Tom Schulte

In the lengthy, six-page article inside the Collages liner notes, it is noted that Horenstein calls Jerusalem a "city of paradox." Aptly, the opening track is "Breaking the Walls," a study in contrast, dissonance between Horenstein's tenor saxophone and the ram's horn sounded at times of Jewish solemnity, the shofaroth. In the 16-minute "Chiasmus" Horenstein solos over a "sound environment." This is an amorphous background of gong-like tone coloring and heated verbal debates. At times the piece is serene, at others argumentative. Sound painter and Horenstein mentor, Bill Dixon, is openly acknowledged in "Piece for a Large Ensemble" performed by 13 musicians including five saxophonists. The six and one half minute piece begins with a sonic portrait of open space, perhaps even arid. The piece builds to a percussive rumble from the lineup that includes two drummers and two pianists and horn players that tint more than solo. One sax player is joined by trumpet and two percussionists in the tranquil "Early Morning Song." In a sonorous conversation, Horenstein plays baritone sax in duet with a cello on "Meditation on a Line." Ultimately discovering form and harmony in a Japanese garden within this land of contradictions, Collages concludes with a serene vision in a live recording where a rich bottom end of cellists, bassist and percussionists support soprano vocalise (Judith Axelrod) and Horenstein on flute and horns.

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