Vicious World: Plays the Music of Rufus Wainwright

This inventive New York-based septet interprets material by the singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright with some surprising results. With saxophonist Aaron Irwin and trombonist Matthew McDonald interpreting the melodies and interweaving on the frontline, violinist Eliza Cho and cellist Maria Jeffers create mesmerizing accompaniment alongside Frisell-ian guitarist Sebastian Noelle. Bassist Thomson Kneeland and drummer Danny Fischer provide sensitive rhythmic support on Wainwright numbers like “Going to a Town,” the lyrical “Natasha” and the delicate, whimsical “Memphis Skyline.” And Noelle skronks with impunity on the raw and raucous “This Love Affair,” which sounds more Tom Waits than Rufus Wainwright. Other highlights include the elegant “Leaving for Paris” (note Irwin’s buoyant clarinet work), the intricate counterpoint number “Millbrook,” the dissonant “In a Graveyard” and the bittersweet waltz “Dinner at Eight.”