Charlotte Greve is a polymath with an exceptional talent for blurring a diverse stylistic breadth. The German-born, New York-based composer, saxophonist, and vocalist’s compositions thread a densely layered web where elements of jazz, rock, pop, chamber, and choral music intersect. Her ever-mutating approach to music-making has manifested as leader of Lisbeth Quartett and in the Choir Invisible, a collaborative trio alongside drummer Vinnie Sperrazza and bassist Chris Tordini, as well as through a wealth of sidewoman work.
On Sediments We Move, Greve homes in on—and fully realizes—what she calls a “genre-fluid piece”; this seven-part set challenges orthodoxy as it toes the fringes of sound. Because she’s leading Wood River, a pliable and adventurous group of avant-jazz mainstays including guitarist Keisuke Matsuno, bassist Simon Jermyn, and drummer Jim Black, one would expect something derived from the jazz paradigm. Not the case. Sediments We Move is an entirely different, otherworldly thing of beauty that defies category.
Joined by the Berlin choir Cantus Domus and lyricist Julius Greve (Charlotte’s older brother), Wood River plays with a hypnotic sensibility that bends minds and rattles the senses. And the soaring, angelic voices of Greve and Cantus Domus are a combination to behold. While synthesizer-fueled pieces such as “Part 2” and “Part 3” lend an idiosyncratic pop-centric touch and “Part 4” is a dreamy, voice-dominated dronescape, the final two pieces are dizzying and abrasive, propelled by the crunch of Black’s heavy-hitting beats and Matsuno’s mathy shredding. Whatever genre Sediments We Move is filed under, it stands on its own.