Hank Roberts: Choqueno
Hank Roberts (cello, fiddle)
Black Pastels (Winter and Winter 919016)
Tim Berne (alto sax), Ray Anderson, Robin Eubanks, Dave Taylor (trombones), Marc Dresser (bass), Joey Baron (drums).
Composed by Hank Roberts.
Recorded: November-December, 1987
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Dedicated to visual-artist/ethnomusicologist Chuck Smart, "Choqueno" is an appropriately multicolored yet somber track from the eccentrically inventive cellist Hank Roberts. Like most of his solo efforts, Black Pastels offers a unique combination of folk, classical and jazz styles, all of which are elegantly combined through his masterful composing/playing and his carefully selected personnel. He is joined here by guitarist Bill Frisell (Roberts was a member of Frisell's quartet throughout much of the 1980s), three trombones, alto sax, bass and drums. While experimenting with unique, daring instrumentation can often lead to misses rather than hits, "Choqueno" makes a trombone section drenched in sparse background strings something that should have happened a long time ago – and a lot more often. While much of the album gets more bizarre than this beautifully layered track, the clever arranging and fine playing make it worth a listen in its entirety.
Reviewer: Eric Novod