Hans Sturm, Tom Larson & Sylvain Rabbath | A Day in Paris

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Jazz: Chamber Jazz Classical: Concerto Moods: Featuring Bass
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A Day in Paris

by Hans Sturm, Tom Larson & Sylvain Rabbath

Original virtuosic works for double bass and piano with extensive influences from jazz, classical music, middle eastern genres, and more.
Genre: Jazz: Chamber Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Still
Hans Sturm, Tom Larson & Sylvain Rabbath
3:35 $0.99
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2. Brownian Motion
Hans Sturm, Tom Larson & Sylvain Rabbath
5:25 $0.99
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3. Prisms
Hans Sturm, Tom Larson & Sylvain Rabbath
3:30 $0.99
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4. Lucid I
Hans Sturm, Tom Larson & Sylvain Rabbath
1:23 $0.99
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5. Lucid II
Hans Sturm, Tom Larson & Sylvain Rabbath
5:25 $0.99
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6. Blanton Hymn
Hans Sturm, Tom Larson & Sylvain Rabbath
5:49 $0.99
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7. Lewis
Hans Sturm, Tom Larson & Sylvain Rabbath
5:39 $0.99
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8. Lafarora
Hans Sturm, Tom Larson & Sylvain Rabbath
6:10 $0.99
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9. Satie
Hans Sturm, Tom Larson & Sylvain Rabbath
5:33 $0.99
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10. Vamp Ires
Hans Sturm, Tom Larson & Sylvain Rabbath
4:08 $0.99
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11. Rabbath Concerto #2
Hans Sturm, Tom Larson & Sylvain Rabbath
12:18 $0.99
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12. Persist
Hans Sturm, Tom Larson & Sylvain Rabbath
4:12 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
"Recorded in an afternoon in Paris on basically a whim, Sturm and his pals take advantage of a busman's holiday giving us a genre blending art jazz date that goes beyond the usual parameters of art jazz. Being the consummate bass player of this time, Sturm will have you guessing whether this is classical, instrumental, jazz or what--but you will like it because it's loaded with beauty, chops and tons of heart. The kind of ear opening stuff that's needed every so often to cleanse the palette, this is unabashed art of the highest order that is not only artful, it's full of the kind of art that'll scare off hipsters and poseurs leaving everyone else to enjoy it as it was meant to be. Hey, some of it doesn't even feel like art. Well done throughout."
Chris Spector, Midwest Record Review (June, 2016)

A Day In Paris Notes

With apologies to Rene Magritte: This is not (exactly) a jazz album.

Many listeners do know Hans Sturm as a jazz musician, and moreover, as one who works in that genre with considerable skill and fluency. He has recorded on a dozen jazz albums and performed in bands led by such giants as Randy Brecker and Phil Woods. His jazz background significantly informs his reputation as a teacher, with a distinguished tenure at Ball State University (prior to his current appointment at University of Nebraska-Lincoln), who has produced two widely revered educational DVDs. But to repeat – and despite the deep blues riffs and signifying strut of the opening notes – this is not (exactly) a jazz album.

It’s not exactly a classical recording, either, despite the inclusion of several short pieces that bear that influence, and of the album’s raison d’être, François Rabbath’s Concerto #2. (More on that later.) Sturm has long immersed himself in the classical sphere, as principal bassist in several regional symphonies; as acclaimed soloist and arranger/conductor for orchestra; and as a judge at classical competitions on four continents. While both Sturm and his UNL colleague Tom Larson have strong classical backgrounds, this album boasts way too much improvisation, and swings too hard, to fit between Strauss and Tchaikovsky in the “classical” section at Amazon.

So – what have we?

The music here falls somewhere in the general vicinity of “third stream” music, the term coined by the late genius Gunther Schuller to describe a synthesis of jazz and classical elements. But it’s not precisely that, either. Schuller envisioned a quite literal synthesis – the merging of two “streams,” classical and jazz, into a fully commingled river of music. Sturm and Larson do navigate these currents on pieces such as “LaFarora” and “Satie”: performances that emerge as neither fish nor waterfowl. But mostly, they present pieces rooted in each of the stream banks – pieces that during their development have allowed elements of the other to seep in.

“I asked Tom if he’d like to work on a crossover project like that,” says Sturm, “and we each contributed tunes to the project. Then, over a few months of trying things and rewriting, several of the pieces began to evolve conceptually. They really do depart from the jazz ‘norm’ – although that’s in here, too.”

To illustrate, consider two tracks side-by-side. The aggressive time displacements and unorthodox harmonic structure in “Lucid II” bespeak modern classical music; but even before the piece opens into full-throated improvising, few would characterize it as anything but a jazz piece. And then “Blanton Hymn,” which is named for Jimmy Blanton, the first “modern” jazz bassist; yet the deterministically precise melody, and the practiced restraint of the performance, place it in the long tradition of lullabies by such composers as Mozart, Brahms, and Strauss.

“Brownian Motion” and “LaFarora” comprise half of what Sturm calls a “loosely defined jazz suite,” that he has spread around the program, titling each movement with a pun on name of a bass legend. “Brownian” refers to Brownian Motion, which describes the random motion of molecules – the catch being that “Ray’s playing is anything but random,” Sturm notes. And “LaFarora” honors Scott LaFaro, whose pioneering approach helped Bill Evans invent the modern piano trio – but the name also alludes to the Pakistan city Lahore, “famous for Qawwali Devotional music,” says Sturm (which accounts for the eastern cast to the theme).

The only true outlier on this album is its centerpiece, the classical composition Concerto #2 by Rabbath, which prompted the creation of this album in the first place.

The Syrian-born Rabbath, now in his 80s, casts a looming but luminous shadow over 20th-century bass playing – both classical and jazz, the arena in which he started out. He has had a major influence on many improvisers possessed of virtuosic technique, including his students Renaud Garcia-Fons, Rufus Reid, and John Clayton. Rabbath developed revolutionary bowing techniques for the instrument, and for years has conveyed his discoveries to the scores of artists who trek to his Paris home for tutelage. Those techniques are now documented in the two educational DVDs produced by Sturm, who has studied with Rabbath since 2000 (although Sturm had already known of his work for nearly two decades). Rabbath expressed his pride in his mentee in 2009 by dedicating the Concerto #2 – which had premiered at Carnegie Hall back in 1975 – to Sturm. (“For me, one of life’s great moments,” he recalls.)

In 2012, an international bass conference in Copenhagen afforded Sturm the opportunity to stop in Paris en route home, specifically to record the concerto (with Rabbath’s son Sylvain accompanying on piano). While there, Sturm and Larson utilized the rest of their studio time to record all the other pieces that make up this album. “We only had the one day,” he says; hence, the album’s title.

So in the most literal sense, as well as in the grand scheme, the seeds for this recording were sown by François Rabbath, a man whose impact on the bass violin pervades modern music across genres. Considering the roots and the range of the music contained here, nothing could be more appropriate.


NEIL TESSER
Author, The Playboy Guide to Jazz
Grammy Award (2014) and Jazz Journalist Association Lifetime Achievement Award (2015)

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