Sun Jan. 21, 2018

Michael Moore's Fragile Quartet (USA/NL)

Michael Moore: alto saxophone
Harmen Fraanje: piano
Clemens van der Feen: bass
Gerry Hemingway: drums

Michael Moore's 'Fragile' Quartet, features Harmen Fraanje on piano, Clemens van der Feen on bass and now, for the first time, Gerry Hemingway on drums

The quartet, with Michael Vatcher on drums, began in September, 2007, and has been evolving ever since.

The repertoire ranges from contemporary expressions of traditional jazz forms to freer, contemplative textures. Each piece has its own personality. The group sound is very warm and delicate.

Michael Moore, active in jazz and improvised music with colleagues such as Misha Mengelberg, Han Bennink, the ICP Orchestra, Dave Douglas, Jewels & Binoculars, Fred Hersch and Lee Konitz, played Brazilian music with Rogerio Bicudo, Paulo Moura and Banda Mantiqueira, has brought this quartet together as an optimum settting for his personal sound and vocabulary on the alto saxophone, clarinet and bass clarinet. (Pressetext)

To play a supersweet melody in such a way that it comes across hard as stone - Michael Moore does this like no one else. Immediately in the first number of "Fragile", disarming, but never sentimental. Moore has made a band with pianist Haarmen Fraanje, bassist Clemens van der Feen and his long-time colleague Michael Vatcher on percussion, and the music is fresh and beautiful. Fraanje leaves enough space, which is a prime attribute of Moore's music, and plays some cunning licks as well. And what a sound van der Feen has: soft and supple, with a smell of wood. (Koen Schouten/Volkskrant)

American ex-pat Michael Moore always seemed the subtlest ironist in the much-missed Clusone 3, but good luck detecting anything but the sincerest intentions in Fragile, a modern-mainstream quartet outing on his Ramboy imprint. Pianist Harmen Fraanje and bassist Clemens van der Feen are a little smooth'n'silky for these tastes, but Moore's emotional honesty and tendency towards understatement means that the pretty stuff never cloys. Drummer Michael Vatcher keeps to a discreet volume level but works his usual mischief, introducing little hitches and sidesteps into the music's otherwise even flow, and Ab Baars drops by for two haiku-like miniatures. Moore is at his most Konitzian on "The Troubadors" (a slowed-down "Giant Steps" variant) and the rubato ballads are alert enough to keep away from ECM-style drift; the shadows fall at the album's end with a pair of impressionist mood-pieces, "The Smell of Novato" and "Upside-Down Man". (Paris/Transatlantic)