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Tracklist: 1. Alice In Wonderland 4-37 (B. Hilliard, S. Fain) 2. Summertime 4-44 (G. & I. Gershwin, D. & D. Heyward) 3. Blue In Green 5-02 (Miles Davis) 4. Solar 3-37 (M. Davis) 5. Errances 6-47 (Pierre Tassone) 6. Girl From Ipanema 5-44 (A. C. Jobim) 7. Helle 6-16 (Pierre Tassone) 8. My Favourite Things 5-29 (R. Rodgers, O. Hammerstein) 9. A Child is Born 5-49 (T. Jones) Line-up: Ilze Pense - 1st violin Inga Grase - 2nd violin Ingars Girnis - viola Juris Lakutis - cello All arrangements by Pierre Tassone, except track 6 & 9: by Viktors Ritovs. Produced by Gailitis G. Recorded by Talis Timrots at "Fish Records" in Riga, Latvia, during December of 2000. Mixed & mastered by Andris Uze at "Riga Recording Studio".
Prologue. French composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist Pierre Tassone (since 1983 he lives in Denmark, though) was classically trained at the Conservatoire National de Musique in Lyon, though later he had worked with jazz music for many years. All of the four musicians of the Latvian string quartet Difference have taken their education at the Academy of Music in Riga. Later, they also become interested in jazz music. This album is the result of the two-year collaborative work between Pierre Tassone and Difference. Pierre has composed two pieces and arranged several famous jazz compositions especially for the Latvian string quartet. Also, according to the CD press kit, all of the improvisations, that are featured the album, were solos improvised by Pierre in real time. Then they were modified, taped and sent to the musicians of Difference for their performance.
The Album. All of the album's compositions consist of tenor and alto violin, baritone viola, and bass violoncello. Diverse and masterful solos abound with passages, tremolos, and pizzicatos, and interplay between all of the four instruments as well. Since each of the band members play his own special parts that are always different from the others, there are lots of complex arrangements, time signatures, atonal chords and unusual combinations between them on the album. To these ears, there are only three compositions, representing a real unique blend of Classical Music and Jazz on the album. These are the famous Alice In Wonderland and Summertime (tracks 1 & 2), and Girl From Ipanema (track 6). While the first two of them, apart from having a few of jazzy-like solo-improvisations in their arrangements, sound mostly joyful and optimistic, Girl From Ipanema is filled with different moods. Although there are light episodes on Blue In Green, Solar, My Favourite Things, and A Child is Born, these four remaining "jazz standards" sound on the most part either melancholically philosophic, as both of Miles Davis' compositions, or dark, as the album's last two tracks. Remotely, the latter can remind one of the earliest compositions of the Belgian RIO band Univers Zero. Musically, two pieces by Pierre Tassone are rather different from all of the other tracks on the album. Both Errances and Helle sound quite diverse, though mostly tense, and they're the most complex pieces on the album. (I can be wrong, but) I guess that in the process of composing them Pierre used not only the 'classical' scale, but Schoenberg's 12-tone as well. But the essential feature of all of the six pieces, which I just referred to, in my view, have nothing to do with jazz and sound on the whole typical for (European) classical music. In that way, in the process of re-arrangement through the 'prism' of classical music, all of the jazzy arrangements, that are featured the original versions of tracks 3, 4, 8, & 9, were amazingly transformed into classical ones.
Summary. First off, Difference don't perform Progressive Rock; there are no elements of Rock music on their album: it is just simply Progressive music. Actually, this is a new manifestation of contemporary classical music, as there are too few elements of genuine jazzy improvisations on "Take Care of the Difference", while most of them were rearranged the classical way. With this album, Pierre Tassone and the string quartet Difference have once again proved that there is nothing supernatural in the union of such opposite genres as Classical Music and Jazz. It seems that's true, despite the fact that the essence of the first of them is the composition, whereas the essence of the latter is the improvisation performed on the spur of the moment. In my view, there are no differences between Zero and Infinity and the trips to the Micro World can be as endless and rich in discoveries as the flights to the Macro World. All in all, "Take Care of the Difference" is in many ways a unique album.
VM. December 3, 2001
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