Kenny Washington, drums; Dennis Irwin, bass; Will Holshouser, accordion; Eddy Davis, banjo; the Six String Quartet
Reviving the more obscure operatic works of Kurt Weill is a weighty task. And while saxophonist Michael Hashim seems up to the venture, in the end it appears he's bit off more than he can chew.
His job-recasting these neglected songs in the veiled instrumentation of sac, bass, drums banjo, and accordion. In a sense it works, perhaps in another medium. But for the 'tin-pan alley' and orchestral nature of Weill's writing style it falls short.
Of the songs chosen only 'This Is New' is best known as a Jazz standard. And herein lies the problem.
Each of the songs selected by Hashim lack the compositional thrust needed to push the melodic ingredient so endemic to Jazz. thus the music comes across as no more than a staid academic lesson. This as opposed to a spontaneous Jazz performance.
But this could have been Hashim's full intent. There is an ethnic European gypsy aire that the group captures. The string quartet is used as a sweetener. Yet, we somehow feel Hashim;s quest is to flesh the greater qualities of the music and yet...
The music becomes wearisome and seamless after a while, regardless of the presence of Kenny Washington and Dennis Irwin.
by Lofton Emenari, III
Jazz Now Interactive
Copyright Jazz Now, October 2002 issue, all rights reserved