Cryptogramophone is described as a label featuring creative jazz, which seems to be its synonym for slightly avant-garde jazz. The instrumental lineups on both albums are out of the ordinary and, while composition and form havent been completely abandoned, there is an arty, edgier sound than you will find on straight-ahead jazz releases.
Cellist Erik Friedlander is joined on his album by Andy Laster (sax and clarinet), and Stomu Takeishi (electric bass) and his brother Satoshi Takeishi (percussion). Some of the compositions are highly enjoyable, like "7th Sister," while others, like "Chanting," seem to meander and not hit their mark. Ben Goldberg, who also plays in Tin Hat (formerly the Tin Hat Trio), plays here with Carla Kihlstedt (violin and voice), Rob Sudduth (tenor sax), Devin Hoff (bass) and Ches Smith (drums). The quintet is better on longer selections, like "I before E before I," while some of the shorter pieces sound forced and do not cohere into musical statements.
While I will admit the music may not be for everyone, the sound on these discs is very good. While a tad on the dry side, the recordings hide no details and reproduce the timbre of instruments well. These are some of the best-sounding CDs of this kind of music Ive heard.
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