Meeting of the Spirits
Wait, can it be? Is this the Apocalyptica of jazz? Israeli born cellist Matt Haimovitz, already known for his unique and adventurous musical creations, has assembled the 8-piece cello ensemble, Uccello, with the intention of playing as part of a “cello big band” and covering Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, and George Gershwin just to name a few. Well, alright then...quite ambitious to say the least. The cameo appearance by John McLaughlin, among others, isn't even necessary to get me to pay attention, but it sure adds to the hype. A hype that, mind you, is not only met but far exceeded. The sheer scope of the imaginativeness alone makes this album amazing, the insane musicianship just kind of puts it over the top. I can honestly say I have not heard anything like this (with the exception perhaps of Gordon Grdina's East Van Strings Band). This album can be cinematic, jazzy, experimental, classical, and beautiful showcasing if nothing else the outfit's wide range. The only criticism I would have is that the album leaves you with a desire to hear original compositions with this line-up, but alas there are none. Until then just listen to their version of “Haitian Fight Song,” it will all make sense.