Denny Zeitlin: Both/And: Solo Electro-Acoustic Adventures

Denny Zeitlin
Both/And: Solo Electro-Acoustic Adventures

It’s been decades since jazz-fusion shook the waves upon which “America’s classical” floated. And still to this day, the slightest hint of an electro-acoustic experiment can make the skin of most jazz aficionados crawl. Luckily, there are recording artists out there who are more concerned with making these hybrids happen rather than worrying over how they will be received. Weird is necessary. Denny Zeitlin knew this already, he’s been screwing around with electronically-manipulated instruments for years. But his album Both/And: Solo Electro-Acoustic Adventures is truly ambitious – not only does it sound nothing like his last album, but it sounds like no other album entirely. Zeitlin’s synthesizers act as textural variables as often as they act as melodic components (see his adaptation of William Blake’s “Tiger, Tiger”). Walking basses, tooting trumpets and ramshackle drum fills all come from the same digital origins, and nothing is played “straight”. All of Zeitlin’s compositions zig-zag through sophisticated detours, never settling for what you expected. Bizarre, fascinating, and totally worth it.

RATING 7 / 10