David Rothenberg & Douglas Quin
Before The War
Earth Ear (www.EarthEar.com)

cd cover Taking his cue from the words of an elder German lady who overhears his musician friends talking at a cafe in Italy, David Rothenberg has created a nostalgia in the title piece which comes to pervade much of this rewarding collection of loosely structured jazz and poetry. At the center is Rothenberg's haunting clarinet playing, an intoxicated pen that pushes unpredictable, melodious lines around three spoken poems and samples of animate sounds from natural environments. While this has been done elsewhere, it is hard to ignore the fastidious care with which the latter were both collected and employed. The nature noises take on a musicality all their own and are so well utilized that, one does not tend to distinguish them from another player.

"Karelian Midnight"
Within these 6-minute vignettes, we hear Douglas Quin's guitars, synths & field recordings, the bass and wooden flutes of Bill Douglas, and the amazing anti-drumkit percussion of Russ Gold, plus Mari Jarvinen's Finnish string instrument, the jouhikko on "Karelian Midnight."

The twelve selections share complex unfettered rhythms, deep minor key hues and a sad feeling that things are not what they used to be, again. Though war isn't the only thing that can separate once-upon-a-time innocence from senior perception, when Rothenberg concludes wittily, "Things are so much more like they are now than they ever were before," his band and this well made studio effort are the reason a darker 'saudade' palpably appears. Though not 100% organic, this is still musical and environmental melancholy with an unusual stride. - Steve Taylor

Composed by David Rotherberg (Mysterious Mountain Music - BMI)
©2000 Earth Ear Music
used by express permission of both publisher and author

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