Folly Seeing All This is third stream jazz, Northern European style: brooding, dark, understated, often very beautiful. Over a rhythm section comprised of the Balanescu String Quartet, Michael Mantler sets the stage for half a dozen talented soloists, guitarist Rick Fenn and pianist Karen Mantler notable among them. As in the work of third stream pioneers the Modern Jazz Quartet, improvisations here are tightly structured and closely integrated with the rhythm section. The album's two lengthy instrumental tracks are quite haunting, as is the concluding work, a setting for a text by Samuel Beckett called "What Is The Word," sung as a duet between Karen Mantler and British rock star Jack Bruce. At once melodic and challenging, Folly Seeing All This is experimental chamber jazz at its most enjoyable.
AllMusic Review by Peter Nappi
|Folly Seeing All This|