4 Plus 1 Ensemble

COMPOSERS: Wayne Horvitz
LABELS: Intuition Music
ALBUM TITLE: Wayne Horvitz
PERFORMER: Horvitz (p, ky), Julian Priester (tb), Eyvind Kang (vn), Reggie Watts (ky), Tucker Martine (processing)
CATALOGUE NO: INT 3224-2

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Although now based in Seattle, keyboardist/composer Wayne Horvitz was a leading light in the Eighties New York ‘downtown’ scene, and much of that movement’s often-vaunted eclecticism, adventurousness and virtuosic eccentricity can be detected in the music of this, his latest small-group project. Horvitz’s compositions range from gentle African-type lilts, through witty pieces springing from swing riffs and almost boppish themes, to free-ish scrambles and multi-textured wafts employing Tucker Martine’s subtle electronic wizardry.

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The music’s overall tone is predominantly serious – even mournful at times – but, like the quartet music of Horvitz’s erstwhile colleague Bill Frisell, it is infused with enough idiosyncratic wit and imagination to capture and retain the attention. Considerable momentum and drive are attained without a conventional rhythm section, and the album, while relying heavily on its extraordinary textural variety for its appeal, somehow contrives to be artful and multi-referential without being arch or flip. Chris Parker