By: Ted Parkinson, The Whole Note
Gabriel Zucker is a New York-based composer and pianist who has been creating music which combines elements of contemporary composition, jazz improvisation and indie band music. He writes and performs for a band he calls The Delegation which has a revolving membership and recently toured Ontario. Weighting sounds similar to the music of The Delegation, but it is a specific project based on the novel The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner. The group comprises Zucker with Tyshawn Sorey (drums), Adam O’Farrill (trumpet) and Eric Trudel (saxophone).
Weighting contains sounds and motifs that unwind narratively in three parts: Soul, Appointments and Stones(each of which has two or three movements). The first movement of Part 1 – Would It Come Back to You? – begins with trumpet and saxophone playing lines that are part counterpoint, part call and response; they grow loud, then soft, interspersing flurries of notes with longer tones. The piano and drums enter after the piece is half over, filling out the sound with discordant clusters of notes and drum rolls and then all four players exchange several intense riffs until only the piano is left to calmly introduce the second movement, The Uselessness of Truth/Not to be Anything More. Soon Sorey joins with some bow-on-cymbal work and eventually Trudel plays primarily pads over a soft piano background.
Each of the movements contains contrasting composed sections and some improvised parts which maintain the sense of moving forward to the next idea. Zucker has carved out a unique vision with his music and Weighting is an engaging album.