Way Out East is pianist Wayne Horvitz‘s first album at NativeDSD. Way Out East was recorded and mixed in DSD bringing out the beauty of its textures and sonorities.
DSD recording and mixing bring out the beauty of the textures and sonorities, while the 5 Channel Surround Sound DSD mix subtly enhances the spatial qualities in the music and the interplay of melodic lines and rhythms.
What really makes the music shine though, is Horvitz’s gift as a composer, the way his themes and harmonies insinuate themselves into the listener’s consciousness and touch those vulnerable places with their tart nostalgia and bittersweet melancholy.
The Gravitas Quartet was pianist Wayne Horvitz’s longest-running improvising chamber ensemble, which only ended with Ron Miles’ death in 2022. Its members present highly distinctive voices on their instruments, showing deep experience of new music, jazz and improvisation.
The sound of the group is unique, and the playing is both classically poised and jazzily exuberant and inventive. What really makes the music shine though is Wayne’s gift as a composer, the way his themes and harmonies insinuate themselves into the listener’s consciousness and often touch you in those vulnerable places with their tart nostalgia and bittersweet melancholy.
Wayne Horvitz, Pianist
TracklistPlease note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Total time: 01:02:20
|Original Recording Format|
The Factory, Vancouver
|Release Date||September 26, 2023|
All About Jazz
Keyboardist and composer Wayne Horvitz’s new improvising chamber group, the Gravitas Quartet, makes its Songlines debut with Way Out East.
In a set that’s reminiscent of his previous rhythm section-less unit, the Four plus One Ensemble, Horvitz and company premiere an accessible set of evocative chamber jazz that’s both austere and experimental, unified by Horvitz’s lyrical writing.
Horvitz once dabbled in an array of old school electronic effects and vintage keyboards, from Hammond organ to DX-7, but he limits himself here to piano with only the occasional foray on synthesizer. This stripped-down ensemble sound highlights his gradual drift towards a more melodic and populist sensibility in ways his more amplified projects like Pigpen or Zony Mash obscured it with their focus on groove and density.In the confines of this spare acoustic setting, his delicate and nuanced piano playing is given center stage. Only on the assertive “Reveille” does he really plug in, summoning watery, gamelan-influenced arpeggios and crashing, metallic synth shards over the clarion calls and staccato interjections of the ensemble.
Bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck and cellist Peggy Lee contribute lithe lines and fragile phrases alongside occasionally terse passages. Schoenbeck’s playing veers from tranquil rumination to agitated, multiphonic fanfare. Lee fluctuates between cinematic lushness and sinuous audacity. Alternating between refined support roles and featured solo interludes, these two players span the entire history of their respective instruments.
As a regular sideman of guitarist Bill Frisell, trumpeter Ron Miles’ familiar brassy refrains are instantly identifiable. The singular stylist’s inventive contributions to this record are among its many riches, including emotionally vulnerable and adventurously exploratory solos on the beautifully haunting title track and the epic album centerpiece, “Berlin 1914.” Like Frisell’s rhythm section-less album Quartet, this album traffics in dusky pastoral Americana, albeit with a more wintry sheen.
The Gravitas Quartet occupies a conceptual no man’s land somewhere between nostalgia and the future, where pensive, minor-key piano excursions are joined by stately cello, regal bassoon, ghostly trumpet and burbling electronics. Way Out East perfectly assimilates Horvitz’s bittersweet melodies and sci-fi futurism into a synchronous sound world all his own.
Bird is the Worm
[…]In a chamber jazz setting like on Way Out East, he’s given plenty of room to express those sentiments. With Lee’s cello and Schoenbeck’s bassoon adding lovely moodiness to Horvitz’s compositional template, the quartet glides through a series of thoughtful expressions and delicate sentiments.
Some tracks, like “Ladies and Gentleman” and “A remembrance…” bubble with avant-garde bassoon gurgles, pensive trumpet sighs, sharp cello lines, and twittering piano notes. Others, like “Way Out East” and “Berlin 1914” have a slow meander as serene as a walk in the park and as a warm as a fireplace on a winter afternoon. But most, like album-opener “LB” include both of those approaches, and effect an intoxicating contrast of beauty and scar, of fresh pure snow and sharp glistening ice.
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