Chris Abelen’s latest release was recorded live at Amsterdam’s iconic BIMhuis. The concert presented under the title “Songs On The Eve Of Dismissal” features the Chris Abelen 7 along with guest vocalist Lorena del Mar. With Lyrics written by Bastiaan Geleijnse, the album captures the angst and ennui of the career office employee. The troubling themes and musical expressiveness are suggestive of a dramatic theatre piece or opera, and indeed, Abelen and Geleijnse are finalizing the script for a stage production comprising the Songs.
Abelen’s octet maintains a whimsical tone throughout, but nothing about the lyrics give the impression of irony. The vocal delivery of Lorena del Mar creates an intriguing tonal contrast between the delivery of the lyrics and their meaning, an effect amplified by some lovely harmonic work between trumpet, trombone, alto and baritone saxophones. Minus the choir, this project has a lot of similarities to that of Max Andrzejewski´s HÜTTE and The Homegrown Organic Gospel Choir treatise to the love of food.
What’s really fascinating is the way that arranger, Chris Abelen has been able to combine funky guitar/bass/drums rhythmic patterns with post-bop, modal jazz improvisations into a seamless fit. This melding of genres harks back to Miles Davis’ fusion bands. It is helped along by fine ensemble work of the reeds and trumpet acting as a sort of Greek tragic chorus behind del Mar’s laments and at times achieving the resonance of a Bach chorale. So much is going on, and yet it all comes together so well that you can choose to enjoy the music as background or sink your teeth into it for the deeper experience it conveys.
The wonderful thing about this recording is that you can either get out the Kleenex or enjoy the music the way you would any great jazz vocalist with a terrific band. This dual function of jazz is part of a tradition. You can listen to Billie Holiday or Frank Sinatra either way. It’s only possible with a composer, lyricist, singer, band, and arranger like those in this album who know how to make it work.
A Stalwart on the Dutch jazz scene Chris Abelen started, as many trombonists, with the trumpet (at the age of 11). At the age of 18, he switched to the trombone. He studied classical trombone with Charles Toet and Henri Aarts, and after 4 years switched to Amsterdam to study jazz and improvised music with Willem van Manen. After a stint with the Willem Breuker Kollektief from the summer of 1984 through to the beginning of 1988 Chris left the Kollektief to start his own band. This album is Chris’s 10th release as a leader.
Lorena del Mar, Angelo Verploegen, Kika Sprangers, Chris Abelen, Coen Kaldeway, Thijs Huijbens, Ulrich Wentzlaff-Eggebert, Yonga Sun
1. A Day at the Office | 2. Prayer to the Shareholder | 3. Fix | 4. Off-Site Weekend | 5. Delay | 6. At Home | 7. Nobody Told Me | 8. Imposter Syndrome | 9. Back to Work | 10. I Hate to Let You Go | 11. Out of the Box | 12. Remembering Willem B. | 13. Honey Text Me Back | 14. The Hall | 15. Song on the Eve of Dismissal.
Release Date: 15 January 2020
Label: Chris Abelen Music Productions CAMP
To purchase, download or stream the album click here.
Further information on Chris Abelen can be found here at his website.
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Last modified: May 3, 2020