by Constance Tucker
In the jazz genre, many times the human voice is not considered an equal instrument to the instrumentalist, why? I really don’t know, as music begins in the heart, is transferred to the brain, and heard in the ear before it is transferred through the human instrument, i.e. really all instrumentalists are singers, in their inner ear. The human voice is one of the oldest instruments and in the right hands it can be a powerful tool. In the case of Pat Battstone sextet, vocalist Marialuisa Capurso is front and center in the execution of using her voice as an improvisationally based instrument in the Avant Garde idiom.
Capurso is inventive and adventurous, but in control of each idea. The ensemble supports her lines in a supportive and communicative way. The conversation between players is embellished with articulate musicianship that pulls Battstone’s latest project Elements off with mastery.
“The Red Crest,” slowly eases you into the project with the signaling of bells and lightly accented plucks and vocalizing. As the tune begins to build, elongated notes and swooshes of effect swirl into the performance to add interest and impact. There is a freedom is human sound, if one only takes the time to expand their thinking and ability to picture themselves in the moment. This tune also at times reminded me of a movie soundtrack that could be found in underground classics like Blue Velvet.
“Wet War,” is a beautifully inspired piece, featuring Mariasole De Pascali on flute and Francesco Massaro on bass clarinet, it is beautifully colorized and introspectively gorgeous. Again Capurso uses her voice as a fellow instrument engaging the climax of the tune and adding beauty to the colorization of the tune. Proving my theory of the human voice being a powerful instrument aligned with the instrumental tonalities.
Elements is a powerful vehicle not only for the Avant Garde listener, but also for the exploration of the soul. The sextet has actuated a forcefully moving release that will inspire the human spirit.