The ghosts of Torah past and third-stream present flow together on Steven Lugerner's double album.
Not only is the music on multi-reedist Steven Lugerner's new album Narratives/These Are the Words lovely, but the packaging is quite nice too. Opening up the cardboard packing to look at the CDs, you feel like the simplistic approach to traces of mountains and fields are meant to underlie the elegance of the music. And you would be right. Two discs, two different bands playing two different sets of compositions, and hardly a note is wasted. It's a sickening display of overachievement, bolstered by the assistance of pianist Myra Melford, guitarist Angelo Spangolo, trumpeter Darren Johnston, drummers Michael Davis and Matt Wilson... and the list goes on. Musically, it can be too elegiac and impressionistic to be considered jazz. But other times it feels too free and dissonant to be considered classical or chamber. Like all great music, it's the kind that unintentionally blurs genres. Lugerner has a story to tell about his Jewish heritage, and this is just his way of doing it.