Arthur Gottschalk’s creative compositions for two and three instruments, with a 16-piece choir added on one selection, are presented on (1). The opening “Benny, Zoot, and Teddy,” begins in a spritely manner, with unexpected twists of time and melody artfully scripted for clarinet, tenor saxophone, and piano. While the piece is both classical and eclectic in character, jazz elements are also present in the form of boogie woogie rhythms, Monk lines, and musical references (seemingly) to “West Side Story.” The performers on this selection, Sauro Berti (clarinet), Mario Ciaccio (tenor saxophone), and Naomi Fujiya (piano), demonstrate they are fully capable of generating a swing conception in addition to their virtuosity as classical musicians. Gottschalk’s “Sonata for Bass Clarinet and Piano,” composed in 2009, is another largely classical work with some jazz elements included in the form of “Salt Peanuts” references in the first movement and brisk swinging eighth notes in the third, performed exceptionally by Berti on bass clarinet and Fujiya on piano. A second sonata features sparkling performances by the duo of Ciaccio on alto saxophone and Fujiya on piano on a three movement classical work bringing to mind the music of Jacques Ibert. The tenor saxophone and bass clarinet are creatively paired by Gottschalk to portray unique sounds on “Oh, More or Less,” at times sounding like an accordion or like an object buffeting about in the wind. Gottschalk’s closing piece, “Shalom,” alternates traditional Jewish melodies which reflect on the theme of peace sung by a 16-piece choir with musical commentary from the tenor saxophone and bass clarinet duo, again in an interesting way.
– Don Lerman