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Wagner e Venezia

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Album Review

Uri Caine, like many other jazz players, has a fairly solid background in classical music. Unlike many jazz players, he has found a way to successfully work in the classical repertoire while using improvisation and love of a variety of musical styles he came by as a jazz player. To that end, Caine has released a handful of stunningly original albums covering the music of Mahler, Schumann, Bach, and Wagner. While Caine's critically acclaimed Mahler (Urlicht/Primal Light) and Bach (Goldberg Variations) discs have featured him, at times, radically reworking the material, this fine Wagner program finds the pianist sticking mostly to the original scores. And even though the occasional drum machine and DJ treatment heard on other discs are not present, Caine does include an accordion and double bass to the basic quartet of two violins, cello, and piano. Recorded live in Venice at the Piazza San Marco, Wagner e Venezia takes in the overtures from Die Meistersinger, Lohengrin, and Tannhaüser, as well as the "Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde. For the most part, the music moves at a lithe pace, matching the festive sounds of the crowd with exuberant and playful performances. Maybe not the right fit for classical purists, but certainly a fine offering for the adventurous listener.

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Wagner e Venezia, Uri Caine Ensemble
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