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Album Review

Uri Caine “Dark Flame” [Winter & Winter]

cujo   9/23/2005   A Library, CD

Who is the greater genius? Uri Caine for adapting Mahler’s lieder music into these unusual arrangements, or Mahler for writing such universal music. As a devout Mahler fan, I approached this album with trepidation, and I still am trepidated. Notables violinist Mark Feldman and bassist Michael Formanek guest star. If you enjoy this, we also have the later album where Uri appropriates Schumann lieder, and we don’t have an earlier, different Caine/Mahler effort (Primal Light) focusing on the symphonies. My preferred tracks were 2, 5, 10, and 13, but I have the feeling you may have an entirely different set of favorites and may even consider this a five-star album.
mahler-jazz fusion jam with piano, violin, trumpet, drums, and spoken word (track 1), woman singing gospel (2), cabaret (3), cabaret funeral waltz turns into caine original jazz turns into a narrated letter (4), an instrumental attempt at a funeral march and trio, with fireworks (5), chinese recitation and instrumentation (6), male German preaching over crazy guitar riff and pounding drums alternates with a motherly voice reciting English poetry over a piano-x duets (7), a man laments while the cabaret ensemble and mild electronics accompany (8), spoken word over the cabaret ensemble, still not too sure what he’s talking about after repeated listens. last words are ‘what was there to do… but die?’ (9), chinese instrumental (10), pleasant cabaret waltz with male vocal(11), short German spoken word over toy-pianoesque accompanist(12), lively instrumental cabaret arrangement. my favorite track, probably because it sounds most like the original Mahler (13), another version of track 2, but purely instrumental (14)
-Cujo, Sept. 2005

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