Lesli Dalaba

Lesli Dalaba, Fred Frith, Eric Glick Rieman & Carla Kihlstedt

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Instigated by Eric Glick Rieman, this quartet's first encounter took place in Myles Boisen's studio, and was captured for posterity. Fred Frith is the best-known name here. Trumpeter Lesli Dalaba has been active in the New York avant-garde scene, but she has kept a rather low profile lately. Violinist Carla Kihlstedt is mostly known for her tenure in the Tin Hat Trio. Eric Glick Rieman has developed a fascinating approach to the Fender Rhodes electric piano, preparing and extending it into a mean electronic instrument. Each player knew the others, so this first performance cuts straight to the chase. A beautiful level of understanding is established from the start. The music is freely improvised, but sometimes sounds deeply structured nonetheless, as in the opener "How Light, a Potato Chip." In "Shallow Weather," Frith settles into a folky picking motif, giving the piece more of a song flavor. Elsewhere, as in "Ant Farm Morning," the music gets very abstract and quiet, Dalaba's long notes halfway in resounding like fog horn calls (with a nod to Bill Dixon, perhaps?) -- sadly the piece loses its momentum after 12 minutes. The stand-out track is "Worm Anvils," long, slow, delicate, and full of mesmerizing sounds, courtesy of Glick Rieman. On this album, Boisen doesn't take part in the making of the music as on his other recordings with Frith from the same period, like All Is Bright But It Is Not Day (with Jean Derome and Pierre Tanguay) or Digital Wildlife (with Joan Jeanrenaud and the Maybe Monday trio). Maybe less absorbing than the latter two CDs; this one still provides a very rewarding listen.

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