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Instrumental Music Album Mixes Classical Chamber Music with Improvisation

SEE REVIEWS: "Cool Spins" in Mix, EM article, or view TapeOp or see Original Sound

"Quintets is an ambitious but perfectly realized and beautifully recorded piece of music of eight primarily instrumental tracks that lie somewhere between post-Stravinsky classical and pre-atonal, post-modern music with touches of pre-fusion jazz thrown in..." - John Baccigaluppi, TapeOp Magazine

"There are flowing, lyrical pieces that have the vibe of some of the best early Windham Hill artists (Will Ackerman, Liz Story, Shadowfax), while other moments bring to mind some of my favorite musicians from the first years of ECM records...it’s all good stuff—deeper and more challenging than it might at first appear from its inarguably pretty surface." -Blair Jackson, Mix Magazine

Available at Amazon.com and downloads at iTunes

Quintets cover

Listen to 2-minutes of music preview HERE

Independent record label Mnemonic Records presents "Quintets" - an instrumental album of original music by Paul James de Benedictis, featuring string quartet, the improvisational work of noted piano virtuosos Ralph Grierson and Michael Lang, jazz pioneer Jeff Lorber, and a variety of soloists including such luminaries as Sussan Deyhim, Branford Marsalis, and Paul McCandless.

The music was composed over several years, with some of the pieces being specifically written for the soloists. In "Prelude" the composition contains musical collaboration with singer Sussan Deyhim contributing vocal improvisations that were then arranged by Paul de Benedictis to form the complete work. On two of the compositions, "Il Lago" (The Lake) and "Remember," Paul's boyhood friends who he grew up with in the 1960's, perform: John Knox on piano and Matt Eakle, a 20-year veteran of the famed David Grisman Quintet, on flute.

"Quintets" is mixed and presented in stereo CD format. A DVD with Dolby Digital and DTS surround versions, along with audiophile-quality 96k 24-bit stereo is also availble by contacting Mnemonic Records directly.

The musicians performing on "Quintets" include:

   Sussan Deyhim (Vocals)
   Matt Eakle (Flute)
   Branford Marsalis (Tenor & Soprano Sax)
   Paul McCandless (Oboe)
   George Shaw (Flugelhorn & Trumpet)
   Claudia Villela (Vocals)

   Ralph Grierson
   John Knox
   Michael Lang
   Jeff Lorber

The Arlekin String Quartet:
   Eugene Chukhlov (Violin)
   Rem Djemilev (Viola)
   Dmitri Glovko (Violin)
   Sergei Riabtchenko (Cello)

Although most of the music is written out, including all of the string quartet parts played by the Arlekin String Quartet, there is much improvisation from the pianists and soloists. In choosing the pianists and soloists it was imperative that they would be comfortable reading parts as well as improvising. Recording and mixing took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Menlo Park, CA. The album was mixed in stereo and surround sound by engineer Michael Romanowski over a two-year process of experimentation and listening, and was mastered by long-time audiophile engineer Paul Stubblebine.

About the music, de Benedictis said, "When I wrote the first composition, 'Incantations,' and thought of the name, I decided that all the pieces would have a similar essence I regard as casting a spell - a sense of repetition and ritual. This gave me a form to work from. My concept was to bring back the kind of musical interaction that I imagine was a regular occurrence in 'classical music' - before recording technology was available - where musicians, like jazz players today, listened to where the music was heading and played beyond the written notes."

The title of the work 'Quintets' arises from the combination of the five core players: the four string players in the string quartet and the pianist. The composer added, "Even though each piece has six musicians, with the soloists sometimes performing two or more parts, I began referring to the work as the 'Quintets,' and the name stayed."

String quartet

The Arlekin String Quartet recording their parts for the "Quintets" album


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