Canadian violist Tanya Kalmanovitch operates at the intersection of contemporary jazz, classical music and free improvisation. A formidable classical performer, she is fast building an international reputation as an innovator on the viola, bringing its rich, warm tone into the realms of contemporary jazz.
On “Hut Five” Kalmanovitch is joined by Boston guitarist Rick Peckham, Dublin bassist Ronan Guilfoyle, and New York drummer Owen Howard. The ensemble swings seamlessly between extended composition and free improvisation, touching on elements of rock, funk, classical music and modern jazz to achieve a remarkable synthesis between composition and improvisation.
Many of the album’s tracks showcase the sound of the viola, from the austere lyricism of “Rara Avis” and “Chimera” to the angular forms and dense chromaticism of “Hidden Agenda” and title track “Hut Five”. Others, such as Guilfoyle’s “Strabo” and the group’s bristling rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” feature Kalmanovitch on violin. Interspersed throughout the disc are “Vignettes”, miniature collective improvisations that showcase this group’s uncanny creative chemistry.
Reviews for Hut Five
Don’t let Canadian viola player Tanya Kalmanovitch’s Juilliard pedigree fool you into thinking she can’t cut it in a heated improv setting. For proof, check out the two excellent CDs she made with her quartet, Hut Five–both the crafty, tuneful self-titled debut and the freewheeling, spontaneous follow-up, Out Where the Trains Don’t Run.
Time Out New York (Critic’s Pick)
…another engaging station stop in the career of a talented improviser and leader whose technical virtuosity and creative vision are on full display
* * * * Steven Loewy, All Music Guide
Kalmanovitch is an exceptional musician. In soloing she thinks compositionally, with an expressive contrast between the astringent chromaticism of her lines and compositions and her warmly malleable tone. The quartet shares an uncanny mutual awareness … characterised by sometimes austere beauty and a remarkable unity between the written and the improvised.
* * * * Ray Comiskey, Review of “Hut Five” Irish Times 27 Feb 2003
This is an exceptional and welcome venture that brings together free-jazz improvisation, contemporary music and rock, creating one of the more engaging recordings heard in some time … Listen to Rara Avis, a stunning tone poem, and her poetic sorties on the seven vignettes that are the core of this session and you will hear a musician who is alive with creativity and ideas. These collective improvisations beg for discovery and repeated listening.
* * * * * Irwin Block, Review of “Hut Five” Montreal Gazette 12 Jun 2003
The viola may be seldom heard in jazz, but Kalmanovitch’s instrument sounds entirely at home in the company of Rick Peckham’s guitar, Ronan Guilfoyle’s bass and Owen Howard’s drums. This band of old associates do considerable justice to the jagged melodies and angular forms of the leader’s compositions, making them sound easy (almost!). This is an engaging album, bristling with energy … Kalmanovitch’s playing is forceful and direct, and the superb Peckham sounds like a man possessed.
* * * * Cormac Larkin, Review of “Hut Five” The Sunday Tribune (Ireland) 2 Mar 2003