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Crazy Jane - Lansky, Leisner, Mason, Roxbury, Nato

Lansky / Leisner / Mason / Starobin / Druckman
Release Date: 12/13/2011 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9290  
Composer:  Paul LanskyDavid LeisnerRonald RoxburyAkemi Naito,   ... 
Performer:  Daniel DruckmanDavid StarobinPatrick Mason
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Crazy Jane
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



CRAZY JANE Crazy Jane BRIDGE 9290 (65:40)


LANSKY Songs of Parting. LEISNER 3 James Tate Songs. ROXBURY Crazy Jane. NAITO The Idea of Order at Key West. MUSTO The Brief Light. CRUMB Read more class="ARIAL12bi">The Ghosts of Alhambra


Crazy Jane was a fictional character originally delineated by poet William Butler Yeats. Later, a character of that same name appeared in Grant Morrison and Richard Case’s writing for Doom Patrol . Dale Driscoll wrote a poem about her, and it is that text that the late Ronald Roxbury set to music in the 1970s. Crazy Jane, the trio, was formed when Grammy-nominated baritone Patrick Mason and guitarist David Starobin, who were already performing together, began working with percussionist Daniel Druckman. Mason is a professor of voice at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Starobin is a professor of guitar at the Manhattan School of Music and director of artists and repertoire at Bridge Records. Druckman is a member of the New York Philharmonic and directs the percussion ensemble at Juilliard.


Paul Lansky’s songs are sung at the beginning, middle, and end of this disc so that they add a sense of unity to the program. In “Ten Thousand Miles,” baritone Mason communicates the emotions aroused by parting from a lover. “Stay a While” has a close-knit melody with light percussive variations that sometimes sound like raindrops. It also has a pleasant interlude between the verses. The final Lansky song, When I’m Gone , rounds out the disc with fast and light rhythms.


The Three James Tate Songs were set to music by David Leisner. “I Can’t Speak for the Wind” is a rather surrealistic dream. “Never Again the Same” gives an unforgettable description of a magical and violently beautiful sunset. It could influence your future viewing of this daily occurrence, while “From an Island” tells of mists from the sea and a ghost ship rather like the one in the legend of the Flying Dutchman.


We are not told exactly what the percussion instruments are heard in any of the songs on this disc. However, there is a hint in one picture where the percussionist is seen with water glasses. They may well be the origin of the rather unearthly sounds we hear in Ronald Roxbury’s song Crazy Jane . There the baritone uses sprechstimme similar to that heard in Berg’s opera Wozzeck and it is most effective with the single, seemingly unattached notes of the accompaniment. Akemi Naito’s song, Idea of Order at Key West , brings our attention back to melody and the poetry of the sea. John Musto’s six-song group called The Brief Light makes excellent use of Mason’s robust voice. “When You Danced” has Flamenco roots and is quite different from the other songs on the disc. “Song” brings us back to modern melody, and “Voices” speaks of a guilty love. In “Occidit Brevis Lux” (The Brief Light Sinks), a young woman bestows her youth and beauty on a dying old man. “The Summons” speaks of a love triangle, possibly envisioning a contested divorce, while “Have Drifted” is the song Bacchus sings to Ariadne.


Ghosts of Alhambra combines music by George Crumb and words by Federico Garcia Lorca in Spanish style, with the singer’s voice ranging from dramatic declamation to whispered sighs. “Alba” is soft music for waking at dawn, while “Las Seis Cuerdas” (The Six Strings) compares a guitar catching sighs to a tarantula catching its prey. “La Danza” is a Spanish dance with sharp castanet rhythms. “Paisaje” (Landscape) is more melodic as it speaks of cold stars above the falling dark rain. In “¡Ay!” the singer complains that everything in the world is broken and he tells us that bonfires are biting into the horizon. In “Malagueña” the singer’s voice overflows with emotion as he tells of Death’s visit to a tavern. “Memento” ends Crumb’s cycle with almost childlike simplicity as the singer tells where he wants to be buried.


This disc has good sound and, except for the first song, all the participants are equally well heard.


FANFARE: Maria Nockin
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Works on This Recording

1.
Songs of Parting by Paul Lansky
Performer:  Daniel Druckman (Percussion), David Starobin (Guitar), Patrick Mason (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Crazy Jane
2.
James Tate Songs (3) by David Leisner
Performer:  Daniel Druckman (Percussion), David Starobin (Guitar), Patrick Mason (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Crazy Jane
3.
Crazy Jane by Ronald Roxbury
Performer:  Daniel Druckman (Percussion), David Starobin (Guitar), Patrick Mason (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Crazy Jane
4.
The Idea of Order at Key West by Akemi Naito
Performer:  Daniel Druckman (Percussion), David Starobin (Guitar), Patrick Mason (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Crazy Jane
5.
The Brief Light by John Musto
Performer:  Daniel Druckman (Percussion), David Starobin (Guitar), Patrick Mason (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Crazy Jane
6.
The Ghosts of Alhambra by George Crumb
Performer:  Daniel Druckman (Percussion), David Starobin (Guitar), Patrick Mason (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Crazy Jane

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