BJUR 014 Mike Fahie - Anima (CD)

BJUR 014.jpg
BJUR 014.jpg

BJUR 014 Mike Fahie - Anima (CD)

14.99

Mike Fahie - trombone
Bill McHenry - tenor saxophone
Ben Monder - guitar
Ben Street - bass
Billy Hart - drums

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For Mike Fahie, the meaning of Anima, “the animating spirit of life, the ineffable force that characterizes living things”, relates directly to how he feels about his approach to music. He explains, “music, too, has an anima – an undefinable essence that makes it more than the sum of its parts and enables us to communicate at a deep emotional level. Much of the music on this album has a complex, highly-developed structure, yet hopefully it retains that which is most important: the ability to move the listener.” Jung saw the anima process as being one of the sources of creativity. That take on the word certainly plays out on this recording.

Anima features, as Art Blakey used to say, no one in particular. This amazing band shines together from beginning to end, with playing that is so intertwined and beautifully meshed that it would be difficult to imagine one compelling part without the others. Fahie has six originals featured on Anima, with three tunes from three other composers, William Greene – “Village Greene” (“reminiscent of John Coltrane’s music, invites a high-energy approach that allowed Billy Hart to bring the full power of his playing to the recording”), Paul Simon – “Cecilia” (“a great, singable melody that gets stuck in your head. I’ve contrasted its powerful simplicity with a chromatic counter line”), and Monk – “Work” (“a great, lesser-known tune by Thelonious Monk. Like many of Monk’s tunes, the rhythm of the melody is unmistakably his language and invites a different approach to improvising”).

However, it’s Fahie’s tune, “June With John”, that best characterizes the idea behind the album. The trombonist explains, “this is a highly complex structure that still sounds simple. The melody subtracts one note per measure from eight to zero, then adds them again. Additionally, the entire melody is a palindrome.” Other highlights on Anima, include the opening tune, “The Journey”, showcasing Fahie’s vivid tone and his great ability to convey emotion through the bell of his horn; “An Axe To Grind” which offers the musicians an open harmonic playing field on which to romp on; “Democracy”, on which “every player’s role is equal and there is no predetermined form. The surprise climax was unrehearsed and is one of my favorite moments on the album”; and last on the album, but certainly not least, “Seven Sisters”, which is worth the price of admission on it’s own.