In his encounters with alto sax great Lee Konitz, the talented tenor saxophonist and arranger Ohad Talmor demonstrated an uncanny knack for dressing existing compositions in lush, expansive voicings within a small-ish group setting; his arrangements a couple of years ago for a tour with Konitz?s nonet were hailed as a stunning achievement. Likewise, his arrangements of Debussy, Satie and Ravel compositions for 2000's Lee Konitz & Axis String Quartet Play French Impressionist Music from The 20th Century (Palmetto) were triumphant. With L?Histoire du Clochard, Talmor tackles the music of the highly regarded composer and singular electric bassist Steve Swallow, and the results are equally stunning.
Once again, Talmor's classical background comes to bear on his imaginative recreations of Swallow pieces previously recorded by legendary vibraphonist Gary Burton — "Sweeping Up" (from Burton's 1974 album Hotel Hello), "Hullo Bolinas" (from 1971's Alone At Last), "I'm Your Pal" (from 1967's Lofty Flake Anagram) and "Ladies in Mercedes" (from 1984's Real Life Hits). Along with three new Swallow compositions — the fugue-like "Making Ends Meet," the bittersweet "Some Echoes" and the subtly swinging "Chelsea Bells" — Talmor crafts a program of uncommon delicacy and beauty for chamber jazz sextet (bass, sax, trombone, trumpet, clarinet and violin). Catch the references to Stravinsky, Bartok and Boulez embellishing Swallow?s affecting and harmonically sophisticated tunes.