Amnesiac blog (cont)
playing is generally cool and melodic, despite hinting at a more
Avant-Garde influence. To my ears his style echoes the cooler, post-Free
European aspects as much as the generally grittier American approach
to Jazz piano playing. His sparse use of electronic coloration also
provides the occasional surprise within the primarily acoustic setting.
Winogrond's drumming on the trio tunes is all free flow. This is
not to say he bashes around the kit, for he does not. David uses
the drum kit melodically, providing an important voice for the tunes,
by way of the drums. His brush playing is particularly great, an
advancement of the free-brush techniques pioneered by Paul Motian
in the classic bands of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett. Reedsman Jack
Chandler plays with both emotion and control throughout. Echoes
of Dewey Redman and Jan Garbarek can be heard in his playing, but
when he drops a few delightfully unexpected verses of great Charlie
Parker tunes such as Salt Peanuts into Hard Night in Reseda II (Allegro),
you know he's got deep grounding in the Jazz tradition.
Speaking of tradition, David's choice of including a hard charging,
revved-up version of the Big Band classic Sing, Sing, Sing adds
further proof of the fact that he's a legitimate Jazz artist. This
great Louis Prima tune is given great, rockin' treatment, with bass
added by Bruce Wagner. Winogrond gets the classic Gene Krupa cowbell
and tom tom riffs down perfectly as the band plays by turns subtle
and raunchy around him.
Closing out the record are two more great pieces, Sunset Blvd. Blues
and Imhotep. The former, dedicated to "all the lost souls in
Hollywood, past and present," features guest trombonist John
"Rabbit" Ritchie, who does some Jimmy Knepper styled 'bone
bleating. The tune divides nicely into several different episodes,
conjuring up visions of various characters who have or may still
wander the streets of Hollywoodland. The latter would be a treat
even for those without an ear of Jazz, as it features not one, but
two Rock greats, Davie Allan on guitar and DJ Bonebrake on vibes.
Anything that Allan plays on is going to have some weight, and Imhotep
is no exception. After a brief piano/vibes duet, the tune launches
into Punk/Funk/Fusion territory that would match anything offered
up by Shannon Jackson or Sonny Sharrock. Aside from being just downright
intriguing to hear Allan within a Jazz context, his sound is kick-ass,
of course. DJ's vibes match him. Both men are skilled, obviously,
and their addition on Imhotep makes for compelling listening.
In terms of production and engineering, Pictures at an Existentialism
features a dry, close-mic'd sound. It's air has the feel of 1970's
ECM recordings, with plenty of legato and spacey echo. Winogrond
benefits in particular from this method, as all of his drum and
cymbal strokes are clearly defined within the mix. It is, after
all, his record.
Pictures at an Existentialism is a great start to what should be
an exciting career transition for David Winogrond. The man has ambition
to go along with his prodigious musical talent. As he continues
into his fifth decade of drumming, he continues to inspire and amaze.
Jazz stations such as KCSM in San Mateo still do weekly charts,
and if there is justice left in this world, Pictures would appear
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