John King | Ethel
NYTimes February 11, 2007 Steve Smith Another recent Ethel disc, “AllSteel,” issued on John Zorn’s Tzadik label, is devoted exclusively to works by John King, an electric guitarist and the former curator of music programming at the Kitchen. The most substantial piece is the one that lends the disc its title. Mr. King sketched four movements of “AllSteel” on Sept. 10, 2001, then added another four in response to the tumultuous events of the next day. The movements composed before the tragedy are energetic, jazzy and occasionally abrasive in their high spirits; those that followed move from numbed anguish to quiet resilience and hope. “’Round Sunrise” is in two movements, a relaxed blues and a bustling conclusion based on a persistent riff. Both sections require extensive improvisation. The Ethel players respond with serpentine lines and greasy slurs. Similar qualities characterize “Lightning Slide,” which Mr. King composed for Kronos. Insistently chugging rhythms in the opening and closing movements suggest the momentum of a runaway locomotive. Happily, Ethel keeps eight firm hands on the wheel.
Mary Rowell and Todd Reynolds, violins | Ralph Farris, viola | Dorothy Lawson, cello