James Falzone’s solo clarinet introduction of “These Foolish Things” to Other Doors invites the music to come. His quartet, Klang, includes vibist Jason Adasiewicz, bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Tim Daisy. Joining the foursome are “special guests” cornetist Josh Berman, trombonist Jeb Bishop, sax and clarinet player Keefe Jackson and cellist Fred Lonberg-holm, who also works electronics. The group focuses on making one inescapable rhythmic statement after another, no matter the tempo.
Even when none of the guest performers are performing, this quartet projects a huge, impenetrable sound. The linking in the resonances among the instruments and the integration of the layering of the voices are responsible. Falzone has not only composed six of the fifteen pieces but also arranged works by composers of the Benny Goodman era, including Goodman, himself.
An obvious conclusion could be that Falzone is looking back. But, to the contrary, Falzone is absolutely in present time, heading forward to demonstrate how music evolves. It swells, caresses and becomes downright orchestral at times, particularly in the Blake/Razaff tune “Memories of You” and the title tune by Falzone. In each, cello, electronics, trombone, bass clarinet and cornet smooth the landscape so that the quartet can negotiate it easily.
Throughout the recording, Falzone juxtaposes pieces with opposing character: like the tender “These Foolish Things” next to a popping, swinging “Breakfast Feud;” or “Rose Room” next to “Memories of You.” Sometimes he combines the dynamics within pieces like his own “Shevitz’s Dream” or “Goodman’s Paradox.” The concluding reprise of the intro parenthetically seals his intentions for the design of the album.
No musician in the quartet misses a solo spot. The music never falters because these instrumentalists are inherently superb precisionists. Falzone put together this music in celebration of Goodman’s 100th birthday for the 2009 Chicago Jazz Festival.