Ljubisa Tosic, DER STANDARD 3.10.2003
You’re my thrill (btl)
Bassist und noch viel mehr: Peter Herbert ist ein Musikdenker, dessen Inspiration weit über die vier dicken Saiten hinaus greift. Hier erscheint er als Komponist im Gewand der klassischen Moderne, der seine Jazzfantasien in Form eines Tributes an Billy Holiday auslebt. Da erscheinen gute alte Standards wie Solitude oder Porgy kammerorchestral übermalt. Wunderbar wird die Aufnahme auch durch Christine Tobin, die ihren rauen, verschlafen zurückgelehnten Gesang ideal über das schummrige Klangambiente legt und die Songs frei von harmloser Mainstreamsteifheit hält.
The Guardian/London, 2003
You’re my thrill (btl)
One Christine Tobin album a year is pretty good going – two within a six-month period seems like utter luxury. First we had Tobin’s ‚You Draw the Line ‚(Babel, 99) in late spring. Now we have Peter Herbert’s ‚You’re My Thrill ‚(BTL, 99).
From its sketchy packaging and notes, this initially appears to be an album by Austrian composer and bassist Herbert. The cover, a thin card folder, shows a bearded man gesticulating at traffic from the pavement. This presumably relates in some way to the 18-minute Communications Error, which combines found sounds of New York street life with Herbert’s edgy composition.
But the meat of the album is the 35-minute You’re My Thrill, which features Tobin singing songs associated with Billie Holiday: Solitude, Porgy, Gloomy Sunday, Ain’t Nobody’s Business and the title track. It’s a project that Tobin originally tried to get off the ground with Mark-Anthony Turnage. Her idea was to rearrange the songs into a suite of contemporary classical arrangements that could be performed by a modernist chamber orchestra.
The project lay dormant after Turnage became too busy to proceed, but sprang back to life when Tobin discovered that Herbert, who played bass alongside famous jazz drummer Billy Hart on her 2000 album Deep Song, had a parallel life as a contemporary composer.
For many people, Billie Holiday’s voice is the sound that defines jazz – nothing to do with notes and chords, but an intensely moving, audible sensation. So in some regards You’re My Thrill is a kind of Third Stream fantasia, a creative and very European (Irish-Austrian) response to this African-American sound. The Gershwins‘ Porgy develops into a sinister tango: the musicians of Ensemble Plus rip into the rhythmic passages with relish. Gloomy Sunday stays true to the song’s content without self-pity. Solitude is starkly affecting.
Tobin’s voice has an edge that recalls more over-the-top singers – the dangerous bite of Cathy Berberian, the damaged croak of Marianne Faithfull – without ever lurching into melodrama. She performs with a controlled drama that integrates perfectly with Herbert’s intricate, imaginative settings. This is a suite you could imagine at a future Huddersfield contemporary music festival, alongside Stravinsky, Ligeti and Turnage, or as a London jazz festival centrepiece alongside George Russell, Hans Koller and Mike Gibbs. A splendid achievement.