Label: Tzadik - TZ 8046 • Series: Composer Series - TZ 8046 • Format: CD Album • Country: US • Genre: Jazz, Classical • Style: Contemporary, Contemporary Jazz
All are essentially sets of exercises meant to highlight certain techniques. And while several players have tackled Zorn's knotty Book of HeadsRibot is probably the most known, having recorded it for Tzadik. The work was written for Eugene Chadbourne, who has since recorded it for the label, but it remains unreleased.
The Well-Tempered Klavier was written as an instruction book for learning the piano, with the pieces getting progressively harder. Zorn's Book is less forgiving, starting at levels darn near impossible. And Ribot's Exercises in Futility methodically unfolds to unpack his own idiosyncratic playing. Over the course of 14 brief tracks with an added minute solo piece at the endRibot puts his unusual virtuosity in a petri dish, muting strings, thwapping the guitar body and generally dissecting what it is that makes him so in demand.
It's quite different from his manic recording of the Book of Headsthough, working at the same time as a pleasant recital, rather than the enjoyably frantic Book Etude #10 Min - Marc Ribot - Exercises In Futility Heads. While there's no guarantee that mastering the Exercises in Futility will put the aspiring guitarist in a position to air-drop into any situation with finesse and aplomb, Italian bassist Giovanni Maier's Technicolor is a good indication of Ribot's ability to do just that.
With Maier's electric quartet, Ribot shows how to weave searing rock leads and bits of skronk into an instrumental prog setting. The two-disc set Ribot only appears on the first tends toward the display of speed and precision that proggers love, falling somewhere between the King Crimson and Frank Zappa camps and shows nice variations in composition. Maier isn't afraid of using some ambient noise and the band is spot on, with Ribot often dissolving into the mix and rising up again.
Alongside his own work, Ribot has made himself into the rare session player who can stand out in any crowd, hired to just be himself. By instruction and example, these discs show how he got there. Tracks and Personnel Exercises in Futility etude 1: five gestures; etude 2: morton 1; etude 3: elvis; etude 4: bombasto; etude 5: lame; etude 6: cowboy; etude 7: ballad; etude 8: groove; etude 9: morton 2; etude min; etude ascending; etude mirror; etude wank; etude event on 10th avenue; joy in repetition.
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