CD Review: Numinous/Joseph C. Phillips Jr. | Music | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
Pin It

CD Review: Numinous/Joseph C. Phillips Jr. 

click to enlarge 2009, Innova Records
  • 2009, Innova Records

Hmmm…how would the voluble New Yorker journalist Whitney Balliet have written about the four compositions on Vipassana? “With its air of Reich-minimalism and mystic jazz motifs, composer Joseph C. Phillips Jr. and his ensemble, Numinous, have created a sound e-scape, strewn with beautiful melodic lines as thin as phyllo dough.” Ah, something like that. Balliett never intruded upon the artists’ reveries; he just humbly and vividly interpreted them. So have the Hudson-based Phillips Jr. and Numinous (an amalgamation of like-minded spirits encircling New York) with their second release.

Let us dispense with the comparisons to Steve Reich now, shall we? Like Reich, Phillips Jr. delicately layers his instrumentation (25 instruments and voices), as we hear in “Into All the Valleys Evening Journeys.” Every layer has a personality that speaks out at the appropriate moment. It has a bold opening that is then slightly punctured by vibraphones and voices. Also like Reich, Phillips Jr. can break away to a jazzier plane in “The Nothingness that is the Source of Everything.” Julie Hardy’s hypnotic reading of text by Denise Levertov and Dan Willis’s sensuous flute solo settles so peacefully into one’s chest. The opener “Of Climbing Heaven and Gazing On the Earth” percolates with pulsating rhythms and darting riffs, while “Stillness Flows Ever Changing” has a more pastoral flair to it, with a thickened melodic texture.

Phillips Jr. and Numinous flatter the work of Reich and others, comfortably engaging with classical and improvisational music. Vipassana exemplifies that one shouldn’t try to exist without the other.

Speaking of...

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Matt Pond PA: A Man for All Seasons

    Peter Aaron talks with Matt Pond about his recent relocation to Kingston, back-to-the-land themes in his music, and the PA in Matt Pond PA.
    • Dec 1, 2017
  • Unbroken Rhythm: Tani Tabbal

    A profile of the Chicago-born, Woodstock-based jazz drummer.
    • Dec 1, 2016

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
Streets: An Ode to the Outcast @ The Bakery

Streets: An Ode to the Outcast

Jan. 1-Feb. 28 — "Streets: an Ode to the Outcast," a photography exhibit by Kelin Long-Gaye,...

View all of today's events

Latest in Music

Related to Music

  • The Moonlights Sunday Brunch
  • The Moonlights Sunday Brunch

    The Moonlights, a debut musical collaboration for families, is making the rounds at a series of live performances, including two of the upcoming Sunday Brunch at the Falcon in Marlboro.
    • Mar 20, 2017
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park

    With its open-air format, where attendees picnic in the parks and watch the stars emerge during performances, and its $5 youth tickets, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is the perfect place to share with children a love of music and theater, in a variety of styles.
    • Jul 25, 2016
  • More »

More by Cheryl K. Symister-Masterson

  • CD Review: Honey Ear Trio

    Cheryl K. Symister-Masterson reviews Honey Ear Trio's album "Steampunk Serenade."
    • Dec 29, 2011
  • CD Review: Michelle LeBlanc

    Cheryl K. Symister-Masterson reviews Michelle LeBlanc's album "I Remember You"
    • Nov 30, 2011
  • CD Review: David Rothenberg and Lewis Porter

    Cheryl K. Symister-Masterson reviews David Rothenberg and Lewis Porter's new album "Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast."
    • Oct 28, 2011
  • More »

Hudson Valley Tweets