Fourteen-- Dan Weiss

Fourteen is drummer Dan Weiss' 37-minute through-composed work that derives its title from the 14 musicians (including himself) that Weiss carefully chose to perform it, many of whom he specifically had in mind when he began the project in 2010. The instrumentation includes saxophones, brass, guitar, piano, organ, harp, voices, bass, and percussion, which lends itself to the diverse textures, themes, harmonies, rhythms, and moods of an ambitious piece that mixes elements of jazz improv, Indian beat cycles, heavy metal, modern classical and more. Fourteen is the culmination to date of Weiss' musical experiences and influences, from his work with artists such as David Binney, Lee Konitz, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and Miguel Zenon, to his nearly 20 years of study with tabla master Pandit Samir Chatterjee. Pi Records wisely presents the ceaselessly flowing music in seven "Parts" for easier points of reference, much as the label did with the Sam Rivers / Dave Holland / Barry Altschul album Reunion: Live in New York.

Part One: Jacob Sacks' rubato solo piano, both reflective and somewhat ominous, leads to the entrance of Thomas Morgan's bass, Weiss' drums, and the wordless voices of Lana Cencic, Judith Berkson, and Maria Neckam. The hypnotic interaction of the individual streams is made even richer when Ohad Talmor's tenor and Miles Okazaki's guitar join the others. The rhythmic variety and opposition, and the thematic substance provided by the voices, makes for a potent blend. Binney's biting alto contributes additional elaborations of the voices' motifs, and all builds to a staggering crescendo as Okazaki's heavy metal exclamations and Matt Mitchell's droning organ tones bring still more alluring textural content.

Part Two: Mitchell's drone gives way to Okazaki's elucidation of a gentle circular melody along with the trombonists Jacob Garchik and Ben Gerstein. The guitarist switches from electric to classical to give the theme even more delicate shadings, as Mitchell's glockenspiel offers a counter line. The next section finds the vocalists in a give and take first with Weiss' shimmering cymbals, then with the hand clapping rhythms of several members of the ensemble, and finally with Okazaki..

Part Three: Indian beat cycles vocalized by Weiss precede an exhilarating interweaving of voice, saxophones, bass, and drums, with Binney and Talmor emerging in heated conversation.

Part Four: Sacks' sparse piano notes are quickly replaced by Weiss' thunderous drums and the raucous counterpoint of saxes, brass, guitar, and organ in a relentless extended outpouring.

Part Five: Trombones reveal a sighing, plaintive, intricately harmonized theme, with voices soon participating to even more captivating effect.

Part Six: Voices replicate the theme heard during Part Five, until a quivering electronic pulse and Weiss' flailing drums come into play. Binney enters yearningly along with Sacks' trickling piano runs, later joined by Katie Andrews' refined harp phrasings, to complete an increasingly intense aural barrage that is transfixing rather than overwhelming.

Part Seven: Piano and Garchik's tuba make for an unlikely but salutary match as they create a calming ambiance that with the subsequent addition of Okazaki's acoustic filigrees gives this concluding part a sound to a degree suggestive of Indian classical music.

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Scott Albin