“Channels” is a new release of “Intakt Records”. Album was recorded by Stephan Crump (acoustic bass), Ingrid Laubrock (tenor and soprano sax) and Cory Smythe (piano). Three great improvisers had been improvising together many times. Their improvisations are vital, innovative and expressive. The musicians contain the centre of American avant-garde jazz scene, they’re also famous at world-wide scene. Innovative ideas, brave decisions, ambitious, franky, weird or stunning playing techniques, fascinating experiments and original point of view – all these elements make an effort to modern and extravagant sound of the music. All music is totally based on avant-garde jazz.
This opera-pretending-to-be-oratorio (opera was banned in Rome during the period in which the work was composed) offers an excellent way to discover and appreciate Alessandro Scarlatti’s vocal/dramatic facility and his engaging manner of setting melody to appropriately varied, effectively complementary accompaniment. We enter the famous Abraham/Sarah/Hagar/Ishmael story (from Genesis, chapter 21) at the point where Abraham’s wife Sarah insists that he must banish the slave Hagar and her son Ishmael to protect their own son Isaac’s inheritance. (Ishmael was fathered by Abraham at the urging of the then-barren Sarah, who later–to everyone’s surprise–bore a son, Isaac.) The anguished father very reluctantly agrees to banish the two, who end up nearly dying in the desert but are eventually, at the oratorio’s end, saved by an Angel. All of the drama in this two-part work centers on the interaction of the four main characters (plus the Angel, who delivers the final aria)–there are no choruses or significant orchestral sections save for the opening four-minute Sinfonia. Its 78-plus minutes contain well-written arias (both accompanied by continuo and by orchestra), smoothly flowing recitatives, and occasional duets. It’s a very compact, tightly constructed piece of theatre that moves right along, and it’s filled with lovely music.