Exposé Online banner

Bobby Previte — Rhapsody
(RareNoise RNR090, 2018, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-05-19

Rhapsody Cover art

As a composer, Bobby Previte has never shied away from ambition, and he appears to have never encountered a genre boundary he didn’t want to erase. In 2016, he gave us Mass, a Serious Work that blended classical liturgical music with rock and jazz, and now we have Rhapsody, which is part two of a trilogy begun with Terminals in 2014. I hadn’t heard Terminals, so I went to Bandcamp and gave it a whirl. It’s an instrumental work, a sort of mixed concerto where each of the five movements (four on the 2LP version) features a different soloist backed by the Sō Percussion ensemble. The theme of the music was “Departures,” though of course with instrumental music, it’s all in the impressions. Rhapsody concerns the next phase of travel, being “In Transit.” The chief change here is the presence of lyrics, sung by Jen Shyu, the first time Previte has written words to go with his music. And rather than a purely percussion basis for the arrangements, we have a sextet consisting of Previte (drums, percussion, guitar, harmonica), John Medesky (piano), Zeena Parkins (harp), Nels Cline (acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar, slide guitar), Fabian Rucker (alto sax), and Jen Shyu (vocals, erhu, piano). The nine tracks all feature varying sections, some of which are quite unexpected, and while the instrumentation (all acoustic) might imply a kind of chamber music, the reality is far from simple. At times, it’s very jazz-like. At other times, it might be called modern art music, the equivalent of classical lieder. Then you hear the erhu, and get a Chinese flavor. And Previte’s harmonica can’t help sounding bluesy regardless of the notes he chooses. The music is generally not harsh or abrasive — the “difficult” factor hear comes on a higher level, with the juxtaposition of sounds that are not normally heard together, and the conceptual framework behind the choices. Certainly there is no adherence at all to typical song structures; the pieces wend their ways through sections that flow organically even in the absence of apparent logic. It’s full of brilliant playing and fascinating sounds, and after a dozen or so listens I’m still trying to take it in. At this time, Previte has plans to do a third part dealing with “Arrivals,” though apparently exactly what it will entail is unknown — given what we’ve seen in the first two segments, anything is possible.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Nels Cline, Bobby Previte, Zeena Parkins, John Medeski, Jen Shyu

Latest news

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Drama - Stigmata of Change – Seven years has passed since this French band’s last release, Flying over the 21st Century. Lineup changes include new vocalist Yvon Lucas, who suits the material well, even if he’s not a...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues