April 5, 2011

Old New Things (Aaron Williams, April 5, 2011, RVA News)

Old New Things was born out of two different ideas. First, to perform instrumental Crosby, Stills and Nash covers with three part harmonies, and second, to perform Albert Ayler influenced music. Old New Things certainly draws influence from both concepts, but the product is more original. The music is certainly “song” oriented like CSN, and it features improvisation like Ayler, but its folksiness defines its character.

Any preconceptions about the musicians in this group are shattered as most of the musicians focus on secondary instruments. Leader Trey Pollard plays pedal steel and acoustic guitar while fellow leader Taylor Barnett plays the flugelhorn and muted trumpet. J.C. Kuhl plays his newly acquired bass clarinet alongside his tenor saxophone and clarinet. Adam Larrabee plays the banjo. The hardest working man in Richmond, Cameron Ralston plays bass alongside Turkey’s Hacettepe University jazz program founder and drummer Emre Kartari. (Drummer Brian Caputo will perform in his place at RVAJazzfest)

The unique instrumentation is the group’s greatest asset. The smooth sounds of pedal steal and flugelhorn create a soft cushion for the plucky banjo. Kuhl’s reedy bass clarinet dives through the full of range of the horn as it explores different textures. While the album certainly focuses on original compositions, the title track Ghosts is an Albert Ayler tune and it even has an arrangement of a Bach chorale.

You can stream the album, Ghosts, at Bootcamp.

Posted by at April 5, 2011 6:42 PM

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