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Mu­sic by Han­del and Jack DeJohnette

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HAN­DEL Wa­ter Mu­sic: Akademie für Alte Musik

Ber­lin (Har­mo­nia Mundi) The three or­ches­tral suites of Han­del’s

Wa­ter Mu­sic were writ­ten to ac­com­pany King Ge­orge I and his en­tourage on a 1717 boat­ing ex­cur­sion on the Thames, plus an on-shore ban­quet at their turn­around point. The two “out­door” suites, in F ma­jor and D ma­jor, are the more pop­u­lar, be­ing ex­tro­verted in mood and sport­ing col­or­ful or­ches­tra­tion rich in oboes, trum­pets, and horns. Han­del in­cluded no drums, since play­ing them on the small boats in which the mu­si­cians were packed could have caused the craft to roll; but the crack­er­jack pe­riod-in­stru­ment play­ers of Ber­lin use them se­lec­tively any­way, their stu­dio be­ing on terra firma. The G-ma­jor Suite, ap­par­ently played at the ban­quet, has a calmer love­li­ness, and the play­ers here in­vest it with in­sin­u­at­ing gen­til­ity rem­i­nis­cent of Couperin. The chal­lenge with thrice-fa­mil­iar mu­sic like this is to in­ject it with a dis­tinct per­son­al­ity while still hew­ing to lis­ten­ers’ gen­eral ex­pec­ta­tions. This the Ber­lin­ers do su­perbly. Most of their in­ter­pre­ta­tion would qual­ify as top-drawer “early-mu­sic main­stream,” but in a few move­ments they take un­usual tem­pos that re­veal sur­pris­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties in the score. Two of the most ar­rest­ing move­ments are the beloved Air and the fleet-footed Bour­rée of the F-ma­jor Suite. The play­ers craft both with dy­namic gra­da­tions that sug­gest the ap­proach and re­ced­ing of the mu­si­cal barge as heard by lis­ten­ers watch­ing it sail past. — James M. Keller

JACK DEJOHNETTE In Move­ment (ECM) This is an in­trigu­ing stew by vet­eran drum­mer Jack DeJohnette, re­call­ing his guest ap­pear­ance 50 years ago with sax­o­phon­ist John Coltrane and bassist Jimmy Gar­ri­son. DeJohnette here in­ter­acts with the bassist’s son, Matthew Gar­ri­son (bass, elec­tron­ics) and sax­man Ravi Coltrane, son of John and harpist Alice Coltrane. “We are con­nected at a very high, ex­tremely per­sonal level that I be­lieve comes through in the mu­sic,” the leader said about his band­mates, whom he has known since they were kids. First up is a re­work­ing of the 1963 John Coltrane an­them “Alabama.” DeJohnette’s sub­tle yet heat­edly dy­namic work on cym­bals and drums, and Coltrane’s pow­er­ful but not over­crowded tenor riffs on the epic melody yield a con­sis­tently sus­pense­ful at­mos­phere. The ti­tle piece opens with beau­ti­ful string work and swirling elec­tronic fig­ures, which presage fiery flights on so­prano sax­o­phone. “Two Jim­mys” is an im­pres­sion­is­tic, fu­sion­is­tic homage to Jimmy Gar­ri­son and Jimi Hen­drix, and there are lots of elec­tron­ics — al­though the low-key phe­nom­ena sound more like Jean Michel Jarre than Hen­drix. “Rashied” is a sat­is­fy­ingly wild duet, Coltrane on so­pranino and DeJohnette all over the kit, wrap­ping rhythms with thun­der; how­ever, th­ese pro­ceed­ings are sev­eral shades more ac­ces­si­ble than their in­spi­ra­tion, Ravi’s fa­ther’s In­ter­stel­lar Space. Over­all, this is an ex­cit­ing record­ing, es­pe­cially for those of us who were riv­eted by the band’s per­for­mance at the 2014 New Mex­ico Jazz Fes­ti­val. — Paul Wei­de­man

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