Wednesday, May 25, 2016

NZ Music Month: Hayden Chisholm Quintet - Cusp of Oblivion

Last week I posted on an album from Hayden's 2013 box set, 13 Views of the Hearts Cargo. This week I've been listening to the first disc - Cusp of Oblivion - from the box set (of the same name) released a couple of months ago.
NZ Music Month
The quintet - Hayden Chisholm as, Evi Filippou vibes, Achim Kaufmann p, Petter Eldh b, John Hollenbeck d - tackle eight pieces by Hayden. Cusp has a suite-like feel to it, the pieces seem to come from a larger whole. They flow together, and throughout the week very rarely did I listen to only part of the album. Instead I found myself listening to the album from start to finish - and on more than one occasion, multiple runs back to back. Although the sax and piano take on the bulk of the solo work (their different approaches make for a nice pairing), with the vibraphone, bass and drums largely in the role of supportive and interactive accompanists, the album maintains a strong, balanced group sound throughout. I'm really enjoying the rich texture provided by the vibraphone and piano. The vibraphone seems to fill out harmony, giving extra depth and color to the sound and gets a nice blend with both piano and alto (disc 7 of the set is a Chisholm/Filippou duo and I'm looking forward to hearing more of this combo). The effortlessness of Hayden's playing is one the the standout features of his work. His tone is complex and continues to develop new shades of expression coupled with an extra assuredness (at least I think that's what it is). The sound of the album is unhurried and delicate yet intense, brooding yet light, and I'm finding these contrasts make for compelling listening.

With such a strong start to the set I can't wait to delve into the other 12 discs. But one of the challenges with box sets is making sure you don't rush through things. I may have a cursory run through of the other discs before settling down to absorb things focusing on one disc at a time.
Cusp of Oblivion

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