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Album Review

7 Hertz – “Tender Almost Vulgar ” – [Birdwar Records]

Max Level   1/15/2008   A Library, CD

Debut release featuring original compositions by this mostly instrumental quintet, and what interesting compositions they are! Wonderful, well-played hybrids of classical, jazz, blues, improv, and traditional European musics. No doubt the group would hesitate to pigeonhole its style even that loosely, though, as they claim influences as varied as Satie, Prokofiev, Taraf de Haidouks, Mingus, Threadgill, Rachel’s, Masada, Billie Holiday, Tom Waits, etc… all of which I think I can hear here. Quite a colorful palette of sounds on this CD: the basic lineup of violins, clarinets, and double bass blossoms with the help of a few guests to include instruments such as mandolin, accordion, trombone, trumpet, guitar, cello, and bassoon. The music is contemporary-sounding but rooted firmly in various musical traditions. Many moods are touched upon; for example the droning last track, featuring bass, violin, and cello, sounds to me like a hopeful dawn after a tragic night. This music is deep like that. Blues-flavored vocals on tracks 8 & 11.

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