1. Spring Haystacks
2. Prairie Suite
4. Summer Haystacks
5. Lake Shore Suite
6. Autumn Haystacks
7. Passing Spirit
8. Winter Haystacks
CD Quality - 16 bit / 44.1 khz
The Impressionist movements in the arts were revolutions of the senses. In visual arts, the semblance of form through the use of light and color shocked the art world. Impressionist composers, whose aim was to create an atmospheric music, created freely moving, harmonically ambiguous sound paintings. Both movements looked to break from the traditional approach of using overt structure to create form, instead using aura as a frame for form.
The music of guitarist/composer Scott DuBois exhibits a balance between the visceral and conceptual. His playing can be delicate or violent, his writing direct or abstract. DuBois finds part of his diverse inspiration in the Impressionists, both visual and aural, providing compositions that suggest form through sound with intense emotion. He references the work of one great artist directly, the master painter Claude Monet. The results can be heard on his stunning, new Sunnyside release, Landscape Scripture.
An Illinois-native turned New Yorker, DuBois has been active in the international jazz world for over a decade. He has released five albums, three on Sunnyside, featuring his quartet of woodwind multi-instrumentalist Gebhard Ullmann, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Kresten Osgood. With his core ensemble, DuBois has focused on developing a sound that allows for his classically inspired compositional identity alongside his emotive improvisational one. He has found as much inspiration in the works of Igor Stravinsky, György Ligeti and Witold Lutoslawski as he has in the fiery displays of John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy. DuBois has also been actively nurturing his formal classical writing to round out his musical identity.
Like many artists before him, DuBois has been greatly inspired by nature; especially landscapes. It shouldn’t be surprising that he chose to write four compositions inspired by the great impressionist Claude Monet’s famous series of landscapes entitled Haystacks. The series of 25 separate canvases depicts the same subject – haystacks – in various seasons and times of day. The pieces are interspersed throughout the selections on Landscape Scripture.
“Spring Haystacks” begins quietly with a droning bass and subtle guitar building with swirling bass clarinet and splashing drums, like an aural depiction of a sunrise. Galloping drums and bass lend a celebratory mood to “Summer Haystacks,” which also features a sing-song melody, reminiscent of a warm, folk theme. The falling notes and swirling tenor sax of “Autumn Haystacks” imitate the rustling of leaves in the fall winds, foreboding tension hints at the winter to come. The concluding “Winter Haystacks” is a hushed meditation with ringing guitar over the echoing drums and cold, sustained bass clarinet tones.
Along with this series, there are two longer suites, both inspired by scenes from DuBois’s native Midwest. A prancing bass and drums lead into “Prairie Suite,” before DuBois’s ethereal guitar floats and Ullmann’s bass clarinet romps across the ever-shifting landscape. “Lake Shore Suite” builds off the subtle tension established by the rhythm trio before Ullmann’s powerful tenor takes on a commanding role. Both suites are dynamic examples of the composer’s ability to create differing moods and environments within a single piece and the fantastic rapport among the ensemble members in communicating so effectively.
“Goodbye” begins with a faint guitar reverie with the other instruments respectfully joining in on a somber and especially resonant tone poem. The rumbling “Passing Spirit” provides a powerful example of the ensemble’s dynamic, and features amazing improvisatory performances by all.
The compositions on Landscape Scripture are expertly crafted while allowing the instrumentalists to manipulate the form with their unique tones and textures. The coalescence of their dramatic performances creates a feeling of a mirage-like structure in flux. DuBois’s intent is clear: to create emotional pieces of music that contain intensity and restraint without rigidity, music that cuts straight to the heart.
released March 13, 2012
Scott DuBois - guitar
Gebhard Ullmann - tenor sax & bass clarinet
Thomas Morgan - bass
Kresten Osgood - drums