Wednesday, April 17, 2013

James Falzone's Renga Ensemble

L-R Vandermark, Stein, Rothenber, Goldberg, Jackson, Falzone
The Renga Ensemble made its debut last week. An all reed group conceived and led by clarinetist James Falzone. I got to two of the three performances - Wednesday night at The Hideout and Thursday at the Chicago Cultural Center (later that night they played at Elastic but as much as I wanted to go I thought it was better for me to stay at home and fight off the cold I had picked up).
All of the pieces were written by Falzone and each member had a feature piece. Alongside some of Chicago's finest, Falzone also drew on talents from San Francisco (Goldberg) & NYC (Rothenberg)...

James Falzone

Anyway, the full line up was:
James Falzone (Clarinet, Eb Clarinet)
Keefe Jackson (Tenor Sax, Bass Clarinet, Contrabass Clarinet)
Ben Goldberg (Clarinet, Contraalto clarinet)
Ned Rothenberg (Alto Sax, Clarinet)
Jason Stein (Bass Clarinet)
Ken Vandermark (Bari Sax, Bass Clarinet, Clarinet)

The instrumentation ranged from 6 clarinets through to 3 clarinets & 3 saxes with pretty much every combination in between. A very enjoyable couple of performances -  dynamic with sustained interest throughout. Hopefully it's not a one-off and they are able to get together and develop their group sound. Also, it would be interesting to hear compositions from the rest of the ensemble. The group spent Friday in the studio so keep your ears peeled for a future release.
Chicago Cultural Center April 11 2013

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