“The Hapless Child And Other Inscrutable Stories” by Michael Mantler with Robert Wyatt - album review

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TJR says

An ambitious project co-ordinated by the Austrian Jazz trumpeter and bandleader, Michael Mantler, who pays tribute to the legendary author-illustrator Edward Gorey by taking six of his morbid stories (1957 to 1965) and setting them to darkly progressive music pieces. It's a repeat of the approach that he took for his “No Answer” album in 1974, when he used the words of the bleak absurdist Samuel Beckett. Mantler elects not to play on the album, instead enlisting a highly skilled cast to bring the project alive: Robert Wyatt (vocals), Carla Bley (piano, clavinet, string synthesizer), Steve Swallow (bass guitar), Jack DeJohnette (drums, percussion) and Terje Rypdal (guitar). Brief snippets of narration are performed by Alfreda Benge, Albert Caulder and Nick Mason. Wyatt's wistful and mysterious vocal tones convey the dramas various from “The Sinking Spell” (1965), “The Object-Lesson” (1958), “The Insect God” (1963), “The Doubtful Guest” (1957), “The Remembered Visit” (1965) and “The Hapless Child” (1961). It's the title-track which closes the album on a suitably grim note, The Hapless Child being the tragic story of a little orphaned girl, Charlotte-Sophia, who runs away from the mistresses at her cruel boarding school, only to be kidnapped and sold to “a brute” who makes her his slave. She escapes, on the brink of death, but is run down and killed in the street - by a wagon driven by her father, who's back from the war, the rumours of his demise greatly exaggerated. This is left-of-centre horror-prog, not for the feint-hearted.

The Jukebox Rebel
23-Sep-2010

A1 [05:10] 4.5.png Michael Mantler with Robert Wyatt, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Jack DeJohnette and Terje Rypdal - The Sinking Spell (Edward Gorey, Michael Mantler) Prog
A2 [05:00] 4.5.png Michael Mantler with Robert Wyatt, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Jack DeJohnette and Terje Rypdal - The Object-Lesson (Edward Gorey, Michael Mantler) Prog
A3 [04:58] 4.6.png Michael Mantler with Robert Wyatt, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Jack DeJohnette and Terje Rypdal - The Insect God (Edward Gorey, Michael Mantler) Prog
B1 [04:47] 5.4.png Michael Mantler with Robert Wyatt, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Jack DeJohnette and Terje Rypdal - The Doubtful Guest (Edward Gorey, Michael Mantler, Samuel Beckett) Prog
B2 [06:27] 6.4.png Michael Mantler with Robert Wyatt, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Jack DeJohnette and Terje Rypdal - The Remembered Visit (Edward Gorey, Michael Mantler, Samuel Beckett) Prog
B3 [07:02] 6.5.png Michael Mantler with Robert Wyatt, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Jack DeJohnette and Terje Rypdal - The Hapless Child (Edward Gorey, Michael Mantler) Prog




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