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Folly Seeing All This

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Album Review

Folly Seeing All This is third stream jazz, Northern European style: brooding, dark, understated, often very beautiful. Over a rhythm section comprised of the Balanescu String Quartet, Michael Mantler sets the stage for half a dozen talented soloists, guitarist Rick Fenn and pianist Karen Mantler notable among them. As in the work of third stream pioneers the Modern Jazz Quartet, improvisations here are tightly structured and closely integrated with the rhythm section. The album's two lengthy instrumental tracks are quite haunting, as is the concluding work, a setting for a text by Samuel Beckett called "What Is The Word," sung as a duet between Karen Mantler and British rock star Jack Bruce. At once melodic and challenging, Folly Seeing All This is experimental chamber jazz at its most enjoyable.


Born: 10 August 1943 in Vienna, Austria

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Michael Mantler has had considerable impact on the jazz scene as a writer, player, label owner, and activist. He studied musicology and trumpet at the Academy of Music and Vienna University in the early '60s, then moved to America and enrolled at Berklee. He moved to New York in 1964, worked with pianist Cecil Taylor, then became part of the Jazz Composers Guild with Taylor, trombonist Roswell Rudd, saxophonist Archie Shepp, and others. The group was an...
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Folly Seeing All This, Michael Mantler
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