October 9, 2011

SavoirFaire - Running Out of Time

SavoirFaire explodes with joyous enthusiasm at the sounds made by another musician. So many times have I seen these expressions of pleasure and heard these shouts of approval. I 'realize that in these moments, he simply cannot contain his excitement and what a great thing that is.
Next I see an inward-centered and dark- edged violinist performing his elegiac classi­cally bent solo piece "Aspen's Woes". The melody plays like the rainy-day watercolors of a child's mind: focused, wistful and dreamy. More than a song about one particu­larly special girl, the composition becomes a tribute to child princesses (and princes) everywhere, to their fragility, vulnerability and strength.
On the drive to the recording sessions one summer afternoon Savoir discussed the illu­sion we have all had that those around us are somehow background players to our own leading roles in life, as though we had the stage all to ourselves, to our egos. He spoke of music breaking down these walls, these facades — the harmony recreating itself in other forms, and die struggle to write and record the music that is always on the verge of slipping away.
I muse on Savoir's curiosity, his love of explo­ration and new ideas: his thirst for knowing about people and this planet in all of its man­ifestations: cultures ancient and present: where we are going and where we have been: and ultimately his interest in these questions; How can we put more of our lives into this design? What sort of soundtrack will truly accompany and enhance the state of our spirits today? What kinds of songs can promote our evolution and encourage us to be stars, that is - shining beings?...
Bill MacKay in linear notes

1. Running Out Of Time
2. One Inch Angels
3. Room For More
4. Martitha
5. Pendulum
6. Surazal
7. Interlude
8. Timetable
9. Sommer's Ashes
10. Aspen's Woes

Time well spent

Samuel SavoirFaire Williams

Born and raised on Chicago's south side, violinist SavoirFaire cut his improvisational teeth at local jazz sessions. His first performance was at age 5 on stage at Chicago Symphony Center's Orchestra Hall as one of 25 special Suzuki students. SavoirFaire

SavoirFaire might sound like the name of someone who specializes in dance music; it isn't hard to imagine a deep house, chillout, downtempo, or trance artist adopting the stage name SavoirFaire. But this SavoirFaire (whose real name is Samuel Williams) doesn't provide any of those things on Running Out of Time; he is a Chicago-based jazz violinist -- and when it comes to instrumental jazz, he is not easy to pigeonhole stylistically. Samuel "SavoirFaire" Williams (who wrote everything on this Bob Koester-produced CD) is quite capable of jumping from post-bop to fusion to avant-garde jazz; anyone who listens to the album in its entirety will get the impression that along the way, he has appreciated everyone from Regina Carter to Stuff Smith to Billy Bang to Jean-Luc Ponty. Parts of Running Out of Time find the Chicagoan getting into a '60s-minded post-bop groove; "Room for More" and the title track give listeners some idea what saxophonist Wayne Shorter or guitarist Grant Green might have sounded like on the electric violin when they were signed to Blue Note. But a more abstract and dissonant SavoirFaire emerges on the electric free jazz of "Surazal," which contains the disc's most outside playing. "Pendulum" moves into fusion territory, and the wistful ballad "Sommer's Ashes" has a '40s-like sense of romance; had SavoirFaire been around back then, the piece would have been appropriate for Lester Young, Stan Getz, or the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Much to SavoirFaire's credit, all this eclecticism doesn't sound forced or unnatural; he comes across as someone who genuinely appreciates a wide variety of jazz styles and has a need to express that appreciation on his violin. Running Out of Time demonstrates that SavoirFaire is well worth keeping an eye on. ~ Alex Henderson

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