Wyatt, Atzmon, Stephen: For the Ghosts Within

Album review
Wyatt, Atzmon, Stephen: For the Ghosts Within

Wyatt, Atzmon, Stephen

For the Ghosts Within

Label: Domino
Media: CD
Genre: Jazz

For longtime Robert Wyatt fans, an album recorded with a string quartet (led by British violinist Ros Stephen), acoustic bass, and miscellaneous reeds (played by UK jazzer Gilad Atzmon) should come as no surprise. But those who haven’t kept up with the ethereal-voiced godfather of Canterbury prog-rock since his Soft Machine days might be caught off guard to hear him crooning (and whistling) such standards as “Laura,” “Round Midnight,” “Lush Life,” “What’s New,” and “What a Wonderful World.” This is no retro- sentimental Rod Stewart move. Rather, the 65-year-old Wyatt invests every ounce of his trademark wistfulness in each tune, including a few of his own, while the other players swath his fragile voice in smart arrangements. Taut blends of bittersweet strings, saxophones, clarinets, trumpet, piano, drums, electronics, and bandoneon are all subtly captured and parsed between speakers in a meticulous mix. Most of the album qualifies as lean chamber jazz. But led by “Where Are They Now”—which features Arabic hip-hop vocalist Shadia Mansour in a virtual meeting of Moondog, the Bonzo Dog Band, and Mocean Worker—the artfulness of the arrangements and effects (overdubbed vocals, bird tweets, radio broadcast crackles), is consonant with Wyatt’s experimental history. 

More Info

  • primary artist, Wyatt
  • primary artist, Atzmon
  • primary artist, Stephen
  • CD

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