Sabir Mateen | Urdla XXX | RogueArt Jazz

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Sabir Mateen: alto clarinet, alto saxophone, small percussions, vocal

Recorded live on October 11th 2008 at URDLA (Vileurbanne, France). Mastering: Jean-Pierre Bouquet at L’autre Studio, Vaires-sur-Marne, France. Liner Notes: Max Schoendorff. Photographs: Jacqueline Salmon, Romain Buthigieg. Cover Design: Max Schoendorff. Cover Realisation: David Bourguignon, URDLA. Producer: Michel Dorbon

Tracklist: 1. The City of Lyon (2:42) 2. Art Dance (9:38) 3. Dakka Du Boo Yu! (7:43) 4. Music is Sound and Sound is Music (1:27) 5. Jimmy Lyons (4:31) 6. Sekasso Blues (9:30) 7. One for the Rev. – Rev. Frank Wright (9:24) 8. More than a Hammer and Nail (3:46) 9. Blessing to You (3:08)

Sabir Mateen | Urdla XXX | rogueart jazz

Sabir Mateen | Photo by Lena Adasheva

The dramatic act of this performance draws a deambulatory line colouring each phase in the sound of the required instrument; large discursive logic intensity in the atmosphere appropriate to each segment. After his entry “City of Lyon” which sets the happening hic et nunc, the second piece “Art Dance” on alto clarinet is heard as a twirling questioning with changes of mood from anger to melancholy: bal(l)ade autumnal de Dakka Du Boo Yu”, again on the clarinet.

“Music is Sound, Sound is Music” thunders suddenly like an urgent manifesto poem. From now on, it’s the alto saxophone that will lead the evening serenade. Is it Lyon which assonance calls for the invocation of Jimmy Lyons? The chant becomes progressively more intimate, less “freenetic” and the evening comes to an end in a melodious serenity.

Poetic episode in the luxuriant existence of URDLA, this concert offered as a present to its adepts will remain thanks to RogueArt, a pearl in the treasury of progressive music. — Excerpt from the liner notes, written by Max Schoendorff

Recorded live on October 11, 2008 at URDLA in Vileurbanne, France

Mateen brings this wonderful solo album. To my knowledge this is his first, but I may be wrong. After listening to “Sound Gathering”, this album is absolutely refreshing : it is sober, calm, yet captivating. He begins with some African (?) chants, entering from the dark depths of the stage, approaching the mikes, an incantation that sets the scene for two alto clarinet pieces. “Music is Sound” is a hard to understand poem, accompanied by rattling bells, but the key message is “life is music, music is life, everything is music, music is nothing but sound”, a call to action for the alto saxophone, urgent, full of distress and squeezed notes. “One For The Road” is a bluesy piece, in contrast to the previous “Sekasso Blues”. “More Than A Hammer” is quite melodic and rhythmic, and increasingly so the last piece “Blessing To You”. A nice and welcome solo album, showing a different side of the musician, but one of equal value. — Stef

 

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One thought on “Sabir Mateen | Urdla XXX | RogueArt Jazz

  1. It must have been some surprise when Sabir Mateen, already playing, strode into the centre of URDLA, the Parisian engraving workshop where a hundred guests were convened for a celebration of its 30th anniversary. Mateen had been commissioned as a special guest to appear on the stroke of midnight. Solo concerts are not the rite of passage they were for a saxophonist back in the 1970s test bed of free jazz creativity, and their infrequency means it still takes a healthy dose of chutzpah to expose oneself to such scrutiny.

    A notable fixture on New York City’s Lower East Side scene, Mateen contributes his mellifluous reed starbursts to the improvising collective TEST, William Parker’s Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra, and, more recently, Steve Swell’s Slammin’ the Infinite (CJR, 2005). He already has one solo disc to his name in This Is the Meaning of Life Center (NoLabels, 2004), but whereas that comprised a single piece, which, surprisingly for someone with such a volcanic reputation, gave the feel of introspective private discourse, URDLA XXX is a more rounded performance. Mateen’s entrance intersperses vocal cries with tinkling bells before an ear-grabbing eruption of molten sound from the bell of his alto clarinet, and he goes on to cycle through eight more pieces in the 51-minute performance.

    “Music Is Sound and Sound Is Music” is a spoken rap on the nature of music, accompanied by tinkling percussion, which segues into “Jimmy Lyons” a litany of controlled whistles in the altissimo register of his alto saxophone quite unlike its dedicatee. As with the other selections on offer, it displays the reedman’s unconstrained invention and love of the extremes, tempered by an underlying soulfulness. Melody does make more of an appearance than might be expected from Mateen, not least on “One for the Rev.—Rev. Frank Wright,” where the saxophonist’s initial theme has more than nodding acquaintance with “Bye Bye Blackbird” before passing through the prism of blues abstraction.

    As the closing strains of the rich, introverted “Blessing to You” fade away, Mateen takes the deserved applause and thanks his impromptu audience after what has been a challenging though warmly accessible recital.

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