Recordings

[For reviews of the recordings, scroll down]

Mosaic – Jeffrey Agrell, horn  Evan Mazunik, piano  Gil Selinger, cello

Play list:

1. Bergeronnete 5:40

2. L’Homme Armé 8:16

3. Mosaic: Consonanze Stravaganti 0:48

4. Santa Maria Sempr Os Seus Ajuda 5:01

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5. Esta Montana D’Enfrente 7:55

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6. Mosaic: O Euchari 1:03

7. Tant Ai Ame Or Me Convient Haïr 4:31

8. Saltarello 4:56

9. Sumer Is Icumen In 1:59

10. O Euchari 5:46

11. Mosaic: Est Montaña D’Enfrente (solo accordion) 1:12

12. Consonanze Stravaganti 5:26

13. Mosaic: Saltarello 1:03

Repercussions – Jeffrey Agrell, horn   Evan Mazunik, piano

Play List

1. Repercussions 9:29

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2. Diminished Intelliegence 4:40

3. Only in Winter 4:33

4. Oddio 6:21

5. September Elegy 9:03

Dangerous Divertimento 12:37

Jellyfish Angst, Chorea Mortis, Omen, Shards of a Memory, Bug/Freeway, Five Notes,      Geode, Tin Pot Dictator March

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, Dirty Doloroso

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, Don’t Panic

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16. Haiku 8:42

A Frog 3:03

Autumn Tempest 2:09

Two Winters 4:19

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Waterdrops 2:51

Night Sonata 8:03

Side Show Tim

Jeffrey Agrell, horn; Brent Sandy, trumpet; John Manning, tuba; with Walter Thompson, Soundpainter, woodwinds, percussion, David Hulm, poet, Laura Weaver, vocals

Track List

1. Side Show tim 14:40

2. Song of Cerberus 5:06

3-4-5 Dark 2:14, 2:44, 6:11

6. Islands 2:31

7. Why Don’t You Come Over Here? 4:13

8. Twisted Lounge 2:04

9. Tribute to My Father 3:40

10. Monday Morning 3:52

11. Lament for JPS 4:54

12. Hearing Voices 3:12

 

REVIEWS

Mosaic
Modern arrangements of early music are nothing new, but this fresh new collection of improvisatory interpretations puts a different face on the practice.  Especially unusual is such an approach within the standard classical performance arena;  the work of Duende reminded me more of some of the similar efforts on the ECM jazz label.  There was also a recent classical guitar CD of similar import.

Some of these composers – such as Hildegarde von Bingen – go back as far as the 12th century.  Instead of researching the musicological details of the music and its accurate performance according to the norms of the period, Duende takes the melodies and  wails on them much as a jazz pianist would do with a tune from the Great American Songbook.  The three skilled musicians of Duende are discovering the future thru the past. They are bringing back the element of improvisation which was a central part of classical performance up until the Romantic era.  Their idea is that if they can create music on the spot, so to speak, why not create completely fresh interpretations of existing old music?

The idea behind using Mosaic for the CD title is perfect. I’m a fan of mosaics, and they mostly have some rough edges but come together in a glorious work of art. The same could be said of these 13 short improvisations. Some are of dance music, such as a saltarello, and really swing in some spots. The lengthiest is a very imaginative 8 1/2 minute improvisation on the popular medieval theme The Armed Man (which Karl Jenkins used for his famous recent Mass). The two Sephardic tunes add a sparkle and oriental twist to the program and are among those making use of some additional percussion sounds.  The transparent-quality sound was recorded at the University of Iowa School of Music, my old alma mater. – Audiophile Audition (John Sunier)

Repercussions

[“Repercussions”] is by another off-center duo, this one consisting of French horn and piano. In the liner notes Jeffrey Agrell states that it was his intention to improvise on his horn in a way that was free of Jazz or classical conventions. The music that emerges is still more classical than anything but with a tendency toward exploration and freedom.

Agrell gets a pure, yearning sound on “Repercussions” and Evan Mazunik’s piano accompaniment is the sort of dread-filled rumbling that brings Ran Blake to mind. “Diminished Intelligence” has a sense of Swing and is reminiscent of the old Third Stream classical-jazz style with Agrell showing the nimbleness of clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre. “Only in Winter” and “Oddio” are comtemplative ballads with the latter ending in a brisk piano-horn chase. “Dangerous Divertimento” is a long suite that nods to Stravinsky and encompasses introspection, drama, harsh climaxes, and a touch of Blues. This CD is not casual listening. It’s a challenging work that shows one way the Third Stream movement might have gone if it had ever caught on. – Cadence Magazine, June 2006, p. 115-116.

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