Aqua Piazza Records

TRACES Reviews  

Jazz Tokyo

Jazz and Far Beyond



ロッシングには、ドラムスのポール・モチアンの音楽をテーマにしたアルバムが2枚ある。ピアノトリオによる『Motian Music』(Sunnyside Records、2019年)と、モチアンが亡くなった翌年に発表されたピアノソロ『Drum Music – Music of Paul Motian (solo piano)』(Sunnyside Records、2012年)だ。ここにはモチアンの持つ、時間の自在な伸び縮みという特徴が取り込まれている。それがとりもなおさず、ロッシングのピアノが持つ力でもあるのかもしれない。


前半は良寛である。冒頭の<Orchid>で峡谷の竹藪という夢のようなイメージがロッシングの響かせるピアノで夢のようにあらわれ、バスクラとベースによって次第に色づけされ繰り返される。その停滞は、<Gone>において不可逆の時間軸を与えられ、<Traces>において、進んできた微かな痕跡をぼんやりと眺めるに至る。これが人生の深みを強く思わせるのは、北村により「We meet only to part」と、すなわち仏教でいう「会者定離」が歌われるからでもあるだろう。バスクラは心を鎮め、ピアノは世界と時間とを支配する。

続く<Autumn Moon>ではサウンドが内的なものから風景描写的なものに移り変わり、とても巧みだ。ここでピアノが音を散らし、北村のことばが乱れて聴き取ることができなくなるのだが、その擾乱がさらに聴く者に光の明滅のような効果を与える。光は<Echo>において響きに変わり、さらに雪(ということばのイメージ)によって吸音され、ベースとバスクラの手助けもあって内奥へのヴェクトルとなる。

後半の道元となり、再び広い空間に響くピアノにより別世界のサウンドに一変する。<Impermanence>での月光の下での混乱は狂か。<True Person>において歌われる「The true person is not anyone in particular」「It is everyone, everywhere in the world」というあまりにも広い世界は、北村の透徹するヴォイスやコルカーの包み込むバスクラと相まって、聴く者に自分の身を世界に投げ出すことを促すような効果を持っている。

この内的な思考のサウンドは、<In The Stream>で事件性や動きを持たされ、<Home>で漂泊と帰郷との両方を提示する。そして<Zazen>において、聴く者は北村の語りとともに透き通る水と反射した月と自身の心とを眺めることになる。だが、息詰まる内省に向かうわけではない。サウンドは静かに不思議な喜びに満ちている。




(english translation)

Russ Lossing is a pianist with a mysterious charm, and paradoxically, it seems that the core of the charm is that it is difficult to explain it concretely.

Rosing has two albums on the music of Paul Motian on drums. "Motian Music" by the piano trio (Sunnyside Records, 2019) and the piano solo "Drum Music – Music of Paul Motian (solo piano)" (Sunnyside Records, 2012) released the year after Motian died. The characteristic of Motian, which is the free expansion and contraction of time, is incorporated here. That may be the power of Rosing's piano.

Rosing's work this time is quite unique. Kyoko Kitamura expresses the words in voice, with the theme of Ryokan and Dogen's songs, half of each of the 10 songs (the image is narrowed when called singing). Adam Colker's bass clarinet and Mark Elias' bass have become characters in the Zen world, and Rosing controls the progress of time with a piano and composition.

The first half is Ryokan. In the opening <Orchid>, the dreamlike image of bamboo grove in the canyon appears like a dream on the piano with the sound of Rosing, and it is gradually colored and repeated by bass clarinet and bass. The stagnation is given an irreversible timeline in <Gone>, leading to a vague glimpse of the faint traces of progress in <Traces>. This strongly reminds us of the depth of life, probably because Kitamura sings "We meet only to part", that is, "We meet only to part" in Buddhism. Bass clarinet calms the mind, and the piano rules the world and time.

In the following <Autumn Moon>, the sound changes from internal to landscape-like, which is very skillful. Here, the piano scatters the sound, and Kitamura's words are disturbed and cannot be heard, but the disturbance further gives the listener an effect like blinking light. The light turns into a sound in <Echo>, and is absorbed by the snow (the image of the word), and with the help of the bass and bass clarinet, it becomes a vector to the inside.

It became the dogen of the latter half, and it was transformed into another world sound by the piano that echoed in the wide space again. Is the confusion under the moonlight in <Impermanence> crazy? The overwhelming world of "The true person is not anyone in particular" and "It is everyone, everywhere in the world" sung in <True Person>, combined with Kitamura's transparent voice and Colker's enveloping Baskura, makes it a listener. It has the effect of encouraging you to throw yourself into the world.

The sound of this inner thought is incidental and moving in <In The Stream>, and presents both drifting and returning home in <Home>. And in <Zazen>, the listener will see the clear water, the reflected moon, and his own heart along with Kitamura's story. However, he is not heading for introspection. The sound is quiet and full of mysterious joy.

This board must be a unique work. However, instead of trying to solve the mystery with Ryokan and Dogen's original texts, the sound world should be imagined with fragments and sounds of English words. Rosing, who guides the journey, is still a magician.

- Text by Akira Saito Satoshi Saito

Russ Lossing: Traces: Two Song Cycles

by Mark Corroto

There is an HBO television series, A World of Calm, which delivers thirty-minute vignettes on subjects from trees to snowfall to the vastness of the universe. The unhurried series is designed to elicit restfulness while at the same time provoking deep concentration. The same can be said of Traces, a quartet project by pianist Russ Lossing.

Lossing is probably best known as a former sideman to the late drummer Paul Motian, plus he has series of recordings on Sunnyside, SteepleChase and Hat Hut Records (now ezz-thetics). His music is steeped in jazz, blues, and 21st century classical interpretations. He is, if anything, an iconoclast in the best sense of the word, a true innovator.  Proof positive is the two song cycles he presents here.  The music centers around the poems of two Zen masters, Ryōkan Taigu and Dōgen Zenji, sung by Kyoko Kitamura.  She can be heard with Anthony Braxton, on the recording Accelerate Every Voice (Pyroclastic, 2020) by Cory Smythe, and Geometry with Joe Morris, Tomeka Reid, and Taylor Ho Bynum. Lossing's quartet is completed with bassist Mark Helias and bass clarinetist Adam Kolker.

The Zen influence on Lossing, and this project, is evidenced by the minimalist poetry, not quite koans but open-ended enough that the experience of this recording may have listeners contemplating their original face before their mother and father were born. Lossing's compositions and arrangements align with the stark and minimal nature of the poems. The closest connection here might be to the collaboration between saxophonist Steve Lacy and vocalist Irene Aebi. The austere semi-classical music is performed as a sober complement to the words sung. Even the wordless passages seem to convey an introspective message. The poems set to music ask for quiet contemplation, and undoubtedly a bit of self reflection is a valuable commodity in the 21st century.