Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Clusone 3: Rara Avis

The idea here is to play songs with references to birds in them: “The Buzzard Song,” “El Condor Pasa,” “Skylark,” even Saint-Saens “Le Cynge.” Not only that, but group members go out of their way to make bird sounds, even quacking. Trio members, percussionist Hans Bennink, cellist Ernst Reijseger and alto sax, clarinet and melodica player Michael Moore are versatile, proficient instrumentalists, but they’re into being clever, not profound. Although I’d rather hear him in other contexts, Reijseger impresses here whether bowing, plucking or strumming. Bennink gets a nice variety of timbres out of his set; he’s known for beating on found objects lying around the studio or stage. Moore has the ability to perform competently in both open (“Avocet”) or traditional settings, where his alto work is Paul Desmond-like.

Clusone’s relentless efforts to be humorous and coy, e.g., their deliberately corny version of “When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob Bobbin’ Along,” however, are annoying. They try too hard, and often their efforts wear thin.

Originally Published