Clarion Fracture Zone - Canticle with the Martenitsa Choir
"Passion soaring all the way to Heaven" John Shand - SMH
Martenitsa's collaboration with Clarion Fracture Zone, the stunning jazz suite "Canticle", written by Sandy Evans, Tony Gorman and Alistair Spence was first performed in June 1997, and again in 2001 at Paddington Uniting Church.
Set to text from the Biblical "Song of Songs", the music includes text translations into Bulgarian and Scottish Gaelic, as well as chants and vocal effects and improvisations from CFZ which includes Lloyd Swanton on bass, Toby Hall on drums and Paul Cutlan on sax and bass clarinet.
Canticle was commissioned by the Eastside parish of the Uniting Church of Australia and was recorded at Sony studios in March 2001.
'Again there is reason for wonderment at the universality
of jazz and the refusal of the music and the musicians to be categorised'
Michael Foster CANBERRA TIMES
'8 stars: Not so much a fracture zone but a coming
together, a unity. Australia's much esteemed sextet, CFZ unites here with
no less than a 23-voice female Bulgarian choir for this extended jazz
poem which explores the unity between sexuality and spirituality, to wit,
sex as a gift of god. Fittingly, of course, the work was commissioned
by the Paddington Uniting Church in Oxford Street, Sydney. The material
actually varies somewhat not least for the involvement of several composers
in pianist Alister Spence, whose sprinting piano work in the opening piece
sets the mood, and saxophonists Sandy Evans and Tony Gorman. The latter
both turn in scorching and/or sensitive readings which ensure the requisite
charge in the material is brought home.'
Shane Nichols WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN
'To say that this is a fascinating mix of musicians and
genres is only to state the bleedin' obvious, but such combinations are
what Clarion Fracture Zone revel in as, with a formidable grasp of contemporary
jazz, it searches out intelligently in seach of the as yet unheard' Andy
Sugg MCA MUSIC FORUM
If thrills and spine tingling moments are how you
choose to separate the sublime from the merely ordinary, then 'Canticle'
should be on your list of experiences to savour. From its opening moment
this suite is a knock out, which will come as no surprise to those who
have heard its live incarnation. If anything, the recorded version packs
a more focused punch, whilst losing none of its sprawling, generous frisson.
Unique, Balkans-driven melodies are at Canticle's heart, that and the
combination of fertile modern jazz ideas and the Bulgarian inspired voices
of the Martenitsa Choir. The mood is one of rural exotica in an urban
context, a sense captured perfectly in Alister Spence's 'Darkness
Falling As A Stone', where Tony Gorman's clarinet snakes provocatively
through a mist of rhythmic push and pull, with the choral bliss of The
Martenitsa embroidering the process. There are a myriad of discreet moments
that embellish this intense and moving recording; Sandy Evans' whispering
sax, the flooding tempests of brass and woodwinds, the fabulously elusive,
allusive percussion of Toby Hall. In summary, a masterpiece that demands
your attention and delivers in truckloads. Craig
N. Pearce, THE DRUM MEDIA