Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Karen Mantler - Farewell

After two albums with a band, this work was created just by Mantler and percussionist Michael Evans, and the smaller scale approach suits the subject. The two players' inventiveness is compelling. "Help Me" is a mournful tune centered on the harmonium with evocative percussion underscoring the mood. Mantler sings, with some input from Evans, who adds counterpoint to the character-driven narratives. The mood throughout is not unlike that created on many of the works by her mother, the composer Carla Bley.
After an absence of half a decade, Karen Mantler returned with this somber song cycle in 1996. Where her first two albums (MY CAT ARNOLD, and KAREN MANTLER AND HER CAT ARNOLD GET THE FLUE) chronicled aspects of her life as well as her attachment to her cat, FAREWELL looks at the death of Arnold and her life without him.
JazzTimes (3/97, p.83) - "...Karen Mantler has a keen sense of song structure, and a dark affinity for minor keys..."
Option (1-2/97, p.95) - "...Maudlin and hilarious....she plays an excellent piano and harmonica, has a crisp, quirky voice that recalls Suzanne Vega...and writes wonderful tunes that recall the angular melodies of Kurt Weill..."

01. Farewell
02. Mister E
03. Brain Dead
04. Arnold's Dead
05. I'm His Boss
06. My Life Is Hell
07. Help Me
08. The Bill
09. Con Edison
10. I Hate Money
11. Beware
Recorded and mixed by Tom Mark / Grog Kill Studio, Willow, NY, December 1995

Karen Mantler - Vocals, Harmonica, Piano, Organ, Synthesizer, Harmonium and Glockenspiel
Michael Evans - Drums, Alto Saxophone, Vibraphone, Tabla, Whistiling and "Electrical" Sounds, Vocal on "Arnold's Dead", Percussion (Frying Pan, Oven Rack, Whisk, Refrigerator Pan, Ankle Bells, Bean Pod, Indian Bell, Snake Charmer, Glasses, Chains, Sheet Metal)
Special Guests:
Carla Bley - C Melody Saxophone on "The Bill" and "Con Edison"
Scott Williams - Vocal on "The Bill"

Label: ECM Records / Watt Works
Format: FLAC
Total time: 00:44:42
Gene: Vocal Jazz, Jazz-Pop, Post-Bop