Category: Uncategorized

composer Michael Moss

For more than one decade, the name of the multi-instrumentalist-witch and composer Michael Moss is connected with the avant-garde jazz music of New York, the so-called downtown stage. He led projects such as 4 Rivers, Free Energy, Zone, he could be seen on stage with Sam Rivers, Dave Liebman, Paul Bley, Alvin Jones, McCoy Tyner. The music and albums of this native of Chicago are always distinguished by their originality, originality, and often the use of elements of various ethnic musical cultures. Very original and his new project Helix.

For its implementation, Moss collected a very solid, both in size and in terms of performers composition – as many as 22 people. This improvisational orchestra received the strange name Accidental Orchestra in honor of the event that occurred when Moss composed one of the tracks for the upcoming album, an event as prosaic as it was unpleasant – Michael broke his leg. Hence the name of this composition also occurred. What is this orchestra? A very large and representative group of strings, worthy of chamber academic composition. From its participants I will single out such a master as Jason Kao Hwang. A large group of wind instruments, in which the saxophones, trumpet and trombone, which are characteristic of the big band, together with Moss’ not-so-common version of the clarinet, are combined with the oboe and the holographic character characteristic of the symphonic composition. Here, immediately attracts the attention of a powerful (in all senses) saxophonist Rasa Moshe Barnett. And, finally, a large rhythm group, which includes traditional and ethnic instruments, including a tabla musician from Bangladesh Badal Roy. To me this orchestra in composition resembles a real Noah’s Ark, containing a variety of instruments that seem at times poorly compatible with each other. It’s clear that Moss called his 4th Stream Records label. “Fourth stream”, polemicizing in absentia with Gunter Schuller, the inventor of the term “third stream” for music, where jazz meets with classics.

In Helix, there were only two, but very large, compositions. The first, a suite in five parts, each of which is separated into a separate track, is called The Old One. So in due time God was called by the great physicist (and partly philosopher) Albert Einstein. The author himself describes this work as “initiation into the sacred land” and brings it to the music of different peoples associated with communication with the other world – from Buddhist funeral rites and rituals of the Indians of North America and to Mass Bach and the Jewish memorial prayer Kadish. However, the thoughts and feelings of the author of the suite are expressed in the language of free jazz, which does not make listening to The Old One easy. If this composition clearly showed the tightness and elitism of free jazz, the twenty-minute See Sharp or Be Flat / C # or Bb reflects another of its features – humor. Indeed, listening to this thing where the Accidental Orchestra swings, beating Norwegian Wood of Lennon and McCartney, I Feel Good of James Brown and Bags Groove from the Modern Jazz Quartet, is noticeably more fun. In general – an excellent album for advanced fans of jazz music and, probably, quite a complex work for neophytes.

CD Review:

By Leonid AuskernLost in Translation (Russian)

  1. THE OLD ONE (35:54)







  1. SEE SHARP OR BE FLAT/C# or Bb (20:29)
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