Clarion Fracture Zone : Canticle

Clarion Fracture Zone

Sandy Evans – tenor and soprano saxophone
Tony Gorman – tenor, alto saxophone, clarinet
Alister Spence – piano, keyboards
Lloyd Swanton – acoustic bass
Toby Hall – drums

Paul Cutlantenor, alto saxes, bass clarinet
Martenitsa Choir


1. Animus Part 1 Gorman 6.47
2. Animus Part 2 Gorman 2.43
3. Stirring The Waters Evans and Spence 10.48
4. Darkness Falling As A Stone
 Lyrics and music Spence 12.11
5. Your Touch On My Skin Evans 5.59
6. Soul Of Solomon Gorman 8.53
7. Till We Fulfill Our Love Spence 2.23
8. Kogoto Part 1 Evans 4.30
9. Kogoto Finale Evans 7.03

Total time 61.27

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‘If this project had not been a success, and a considerable one, it would stand as a great curiousity of Australian music. A cantata of sorts, sung in English, Gaelic and Bulgarian by a Bulgarian women’s choir with a jazz ensemble. The commission came from the Paddington Uniting Church in 1997, following polarised reactions to the National Report on Human Sexuality….a sincere and powerful expression of the conjugal’ John Clare SMH

‘There’s creativity, as Werner Heisenberg said, when two different lines of thought meet. And this would have to be the most idiosyncratic of meetings: one of the most innovative sextets around combines with a 23-strong Bulgarian women’s choir performing in English, Gaelic and, of course, Bulgarian. It creates moments that are startling, exhilarating and sensual – all at once, in true jazz idiom. It was commissioned by the Paddington Uniting Church in response to what the clerics saw as extremist reactions to the National Report on Human Sexuality in 1997. The centre of gravity is the Bible’s Song of Solomon, the Canticle of Canticles celebrating all things sensual. Saxophonist and clarinetist Tony Gorman, Sandy Evans on tenor and soprano sax, and Alister Spence on piano and keyboards share composing honours. On the opener, Spence’s joyous runs, propelled by drummer Toby Hall and Lloyd Swanton’s double bass, and Paul Cutlan’s evocative bass clarinet solo are cases in point. But the clincher is the dialogue between choir and ensemble with the music rising and falling on voices, culminating at the end in rapturous cries and whoops.’
Leon Gettler THE AGE

”From the opening bars a sense of utter commitment pours from the speakers – the music is as varied as it is intense’
John Shand 24 HOURS

‘Again there is reason for wonderment at the universality of jazz and the refusal of the music and the musicians to be categorised’

‘8 stars: Not so much a fracture zone but a coming together, a unity. Australia’s much esteemed sextet, CFZ unites here with no less than a 23-voice female Bulgarian choir for this extended jazz poem which explores the unity between sexuality and spirituality, to wit, sex as a gift of god.

Fittingly, of course, the work was commissioned by the Paddington Uniting Church in Oxford Street, Sydney. The material actually varies somewhat not
least for the involvement of several composers in pianist Alister Spence, whose sprinting piano work in the opening piece sets the mood, and saxophonists Sandy Evans and Tony Gorman. The latter both turn in scorching and/or sensitive readings which ensure the requisite charge in the material is brought home.’

To say that this is a fascinating mix of musicians and genres is only to state the bleedin’ obvious, but such combinations are what Clarion Fracture Zone revel in as, with a formidable grasp of contemporary jazz, it searches out intelligently in seach of the as yet unheard’

If thrills and spine tingling moments are how you choose to separate the sublime from the merely ordinary, then Canticle should be on your list of experiences to savour. From its opening moment this suite is a knock out, which will come as no surprise to those Who have heard its live incarnation. If anything, the recorded version packs a more focused punch, whilst losing none of its sprawling, generous frisson. Unique, Balkans-driven melodies are at Canticle’s heart, that and the combination of fertile modern jazz ideas and the Bulgarian inspired voices of the Martenitsa Choir. The mood is one of rural exotica in an urban context, a sense captured perfectly in Alister Spence’s Darkness Falling As A Stone, where Tony Gorman’s clarinet snakes provocatively through a mist of rhythmic push and pull, with the choral bliss of The Martenitsa embroidering the process. There are a myriad of discreet moments that embellish this intense and moving recording; Sandy Evans’ whispering sax, the flooding tempests of brass and woodwinds, the fabulously elusive, allusive percussion of Toby Hall. In summary, a masterpiece that demands your attention and delivers in truckloads.
Craig N. Pearce, THE DRUM MEDIA, 13 August 2002

Tenor and soprano saxophone, composer