Thursday, August 19, 2010

Trombonist Michael Vlatkovich's ALiveBUQUERQUE, 2003

Any reader of my blogs has probably gathered that they cover new releases but also document some of my everyday listening. Things I like usually get a posting. What I don't generally does not.

The Michael Vlatkovich Quartet's CD ALiveBUQUERQUE (pfMENTUM 045) belongs to the listening-for-myself category. It's a spirited set recorded live at the Output Performance Space, Albuquerque, in 2003. This is a potent lineup of avant-improv compositions played by a worthy cast. Mr. Vlatkovich and David Mott, on trombone and baritone sax, respectively, provide a nicely dark, deep-toned two-horn frontline. We've covered David Mott's own interesting work in some depth on these pages and he again shows that attention to your sound as well as the notes themselves, and a thoughtfully structured improvisational sense can distinguish you from the pack. He and Vlatkovich interact on various levels, and they do it in the best interactive traditions of the music. Michael has roots in his playing and they come out most attractively here. There's a generally out context but there is a connection with the past as well.

The electric cello of Jonathan Golove gives another color and a third melodic voice to the ensemble. The pitch range of the cello allows Garcia to oscillate between what an acoustic bass might do in this kind of playing situation and also another "horn," so to speak. Drummer Christopher Garcia fills out the ensemble with a quite respectable free-to-pulse approach. His percussion work adds another dimension of color and texture as well.

Mr. Vlatkovich may not be a household word--and how many improvisational trombonists have ever been that anyway--but he most certainly deserves wider attention. ALiveBUQUERQUE gives you a very good example why that seems so to me.

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