4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Dan Clucas's Lost Iguana Ensemble: Do You Know The Ways

L.A. cornetist/flutist Dan Clucas' new release with his Lost Iguana Ensemble, Do You Know The Ways contains just four pieces, though two of them clock in at more than 20 minutes each. Those two were composed by the hornman while the remaining two are collective improvisations.

The disc opens with "Chaparral," a sprawling, moody piece that begins with Clucas navigating the divide between the delicacy of Don Cherry and the more extroverted expressions of Lester Bowie. Slowly, the bowed cymbals of drummer Dave Wayne enter, followed by the dark arco lines of cellist Jessica Catron. The bottom-end is handled by the remarkably fluid tuba of Mark Weaver. Since there are two drummers in the Lost Iguana Ensemble, ( Brian Christopher is on the other kit), it's hard to single out who's doing what, but both men play with a quiet urgency, frequently concentrating on micro-gestures. "Chaparral," is episodic, with many scene changes and lots of solo cornet work. Wayne also handles electronics, which bubble to the surface in quiet moments. Catron's cello is particularly active throughout, either with resonant lines or furtive scrapes. It's hard to imagine two instruments more different than the cornet and the flute, but Clucas seems equally adept at either in this piece.

There is a seamless transition into "Ask Possum," which hovers in a gloomy atmospheric bog, illuminated by the leader's extended techniques and the valve-popping alacrity of Weaver. This is highly controlled free music, all of the players keeping a tight lid on their volume. Clucas slips the Harmon mute on for some Miles-ian musings, and Catrone stirs things up with some animated ponticello bowing.

Long, drawn tones introduce "Boulevard," another Clucas original. Weaver lets loose with a multinote cadenza over the hyper-quiet brushstrokes and choked cymbal thwacks of the percussionists, then Clucas enters with waves of tart smearing. Catron and Weaver engage in a low-toned dialog while everyone else lays out. When Clucas returns, it is with wicked tonal distortions, a la Bowie or Bill Dixon.

Indeed, there is a heavy Art Ensemble of Chicago vibe happening here, with an emphasis on the unexpected. Each member gets their moment to shine, without ever resorting to the "head-solos-head" format.

There is a kind of hushed dreamscape that guides the proceedings. Even when Clucas dials up the intensity, the drummers get busy, rather than loud. One of the greatest things about this disc is the amount of open space--allowing for moments like the pizzicato cello/cornet interlude about three quarters through "Boulevard."

Cornet repetitions course over the nervous bowed fragments of the cello, while the tuba dives into the netherworld and the drums hiss and percolate on "Ask Peacock." Amazingly, the improvised tracks, like this one, carry the same compositional weight as the notated ones. This is a group of virtuoso listeners.

Dark, spooky stuff. Highly recommended to those who enjoy sonic exploration.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

San Diego Loyal fans – non-stop chants, non-stop drumming

I don’t have any reason to hate Orange County supporters
Next Article

Writerz Blok knocked down

Gang-neutral graffiti yard on Market yields to housing

L.A. cornetist/flutist Dan Clucas' new release with his Lost Iguana Ensemble, Do You Know The Ways contains just four pieces, though two of them clock in at more than 20 minutes each. Those two were composed by the hornman while the remaining two are collective improvisations.

The disc opens with "Chaparral," a sprawling, moody piece that begins with Clucas navigating the divide between the delicacy of Don Cherry and the more extroverted expressions of Lester Bowie. Slowly, the bowed cymbals of drummer Dave Wayne enter, followed by the dark arco lines of cellist Jessica Catron. The bottom-end is handled by the remarkably fluid tuba of Mark Weaver. Since there are two drummers in the Lost Iguana Ensemble, ( Brian Christopher is on the other kit), it's hard to single out who's doing what, but both men play with a quiet urgency, frequently concentrating on micro-gestures. "Chaparral," is episodic, with many scene changes and lots of solo cornet work. Wayne also handles electronics, which bubble to the surface in quiet moments. Catron's cello is particularly active throughout, either with resonant lines or furtive scrapes. It's hard to imagine two instruments more different than the cornet and the flute, but Clucas seems equally adept at either in this piece.

There is a seamless transition into "Ask Possum," which hovers in a gloomy atmospheric bog, illuminated by the leader's extended techniques and the valve-popping alacrity of Weaver. This is highly controlled free music, all of the players keeping a tight lid on their volume. Clucas slips the Harmon mute on for some Miles-ian musings, and Catrone stirs things up with some animated ponticello bowing.

Long, drawn tones introduce "Boulevard," another Clucas original. Weaver lets loose with a multinote cadenza over the hyper-quiet brushstrokes and choked cymbal thwacks of the percussionists, then Clucas enters with waves of tart smearing. Catron and Weaver engage in a low-toned dialog while everyone else lays out. When Clucas returns, it is with wicked tonal distortions, a la Bowie or Bill Dixon.

Indeed, there is a heavy Art Ensemble of Chicago vibe happening here, with an emphasis on the unexpected. Each member gets their moment to shine, without ever resorting to the "head-solos-head" format.

There is a kind of hushed dreamscape that guides the proceedings. Even when Clucas dials up the intensity, the drummers get busy, rather than loud. One of the greatest things about this disc is the amount of open space--allowing for moments like the pizzicato cello/cornet interlude about three quarters through "Boulevard."

Cornet repetitions course over the nervous bowed fragments of the cello, while the tuba dives into the netherworld and the drums hiss and percolate on "Ask Peacock." Amazingly, the improvised tracks, like this one, carry the same compositional weight as the notated ones. This is a group of virtuoso listeners.

Dark, spooky stuff. Highly recommended to those who enjoy sonic exploration.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close