Pneuma: James Falzone, François Houle, Michael Winograd, Ayelet Rose Gottlieb. Friday, August 19, 7:30pm, The Parlor Room

Pneuma

Friday, August 19, 7:30pm: Pneuma: James Falzone, François Houle, Michael Winograd (clarinets), Ayelet Rose Gottlieb (vocals). The Parlor Room, 32 Masonic St., Northampton. Single tickets ($15) available at www.jazzshares.org or at the door. Funded in part by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies.

PNEUMA (πνεῦμα) is an ancient Greek word for “breath”, “spirit” or “soul”. This new quartet features four improvisers / composers: vocalist Ayelet Rose Gottlieb and clarinetists James Falzone, Francois Houle and Michael Winograd. Pneuma’s sound is kaleidoscopic – many worlds entangled – with extended techniques and layered effects blending with soulfulness and an exposed vulnerability. Jewish-music intertwines with contemporary classical compositions and free-jazz improvisations. Pneuma’s instrumentation is unusual and full of breath, allowing every band member to reimagine their role and find their ground in new and innovative ways.

PNEUMA zooms in-and-out, shifting perspectives from the very personal to the global, from intimacy to a loud roar. The poetry (sung in English) comes from many corners of the world including Christina Rossetti (UK), Warsan Shire (Somalia / UK), Forugh Farrokhzad (Iran), James Joyce (Ireland), Mayumi Terada (Japan), and Ono no Komachi (9th century Japan). These texts coincide with wordless pieces such as Gottlieb’s “Neither You Nor I”, inspired by a solo by the late bassist Ora Boasson-Horev. Pneuma made their premiere at the 2017 Vancouver International Jazz Festival and their debut album, “Who Has Seen The Wind?” was released in Spring, 2019 on Songlines Records.

“It’s strange to think that a band of three clarinets and a single voice can conjure up a world of infinite possibilities, but that’s what the Vancouver/Seattle/Brooklyn quartet Pneuma delivered in its debut performance of their program “Who Has Seen the Wind?”. With Ayelet Rose Gottlieb’s caramel-rich voice exploring several poetic variations on human experience, instrumentalists James Falzone, François Houle, and Michael Winogrand worked together as one—even as they uncorked everything from klezmer lamentation to out-there sonic surgery. Music this beautiful, intricate, and heartfelt deserves to be celebrated—and treasured.”
— Alexander Varty of The Georgia Straight of Vancouver, BC