Dusted Reviews

Jeff Gauthier Goatette - Mask

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Jeff Gauthier Goatette

Album: Mask

Label: Cryptogramophone

Review date: Jun. 19, 2002

Jeff Gauthier spends so much time supporting other creative artists it is remarkable that he finds time to even consider composing and recording his own music. Thankfully, he manages somehow. Like other releases on his Cryptogramophone label, the Jeff Gauthier Goatette’s latest effort, “Mask,” follows the path suggested by such patron saints of creative music as Lester Bowie and others who made serious, important, groundbreaking music, but also made it fun. The Goatette, which features Gauthier on electric violin, Nels Cline on guitars, David Witham on piano, Joel Hamilton on Bass and Alex Cline on drums, has been performing together since 1991, and the collaborations between Gauthier and the Clines go back to the late 70s. Mask is the third album the group has released, the first two, “The Present” and “Internal Memo” were released on the Nine Winds label.

Mask the album would be worth owning even if it only contained “Mask” the song. The four-part Gauthier composition, which was inspired by the “richness, beauty, and synergistic yet random nature” of a Billie Holiday song on a late December evening in Mexico, weighs in a second shy of eighteen minutes, and is intricate enough that it continues to hold surprises well beyond ten listens (I’m currently pushing twenty.) Pianist David Witham is the first out of the soloing gate, laying a dirty, distortion-tinged electric piano lead over the song’s opening vamp. Witham finishes and the quintet takes an introspective turn on the strengths of Gauthier’s lead work, before heading into a mysterious sonic jungle, which will leave even the strongest-willed of travelers feeling uneasy. And that is just the first ten minutes.

But listeners are in luck, as there is plenty more where that came from. These include two more compositions by Gauthier, a new composition by the incomparable guitarist Nels Cline, a rollickingly playful reading of Ornette Coleman’s “Enfant,” and Eric von Essen’s “Waltz For K.P.,” a tune which draws upon Bill Evans’ swung ballad approach and features particularly fine acoustic piano work by Witham. The musicians’ sixth-sense understanding of the music and of each other’s playing is evident throughout the album, perhaps most acutely on Gauthier’s “Ephemera – for Eric,” with bassist Joel Hamilton and drummer Alex Cline pushing and pulling the rhythmic envelope while Nels (on acoustic twelve string) and Gauthier take turns negotiating the curves. It is a treat to hear Nels Cline, whose plugged-in pyrotechnics have been much heralded, turn in great work on acoustic. Who knows where he found the time to make an album like Mask, but here’s to hoping that Gauthier continues to locate some extra hours here and there.

By Bruce Wallace

Other Reviews of Jeff Gauthier Goatette

One and the Same

Read More

View all articles by Bruce Wallace

Find out more about Cryptogramophone

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.