|Recorded in New York on July 23rd, 2009 at Sear Sound Studio.
After the success of the quintet CD Lonelyville, Sylvie Courvoisier and Mark Feldman recorded To Fly to Steal with the rhythm team of Thomas Morgan on bass and Gerry Hemingway on drums.
John Corbett writes in the liner notes: “It is organic, living, pulsing improvised music, made through listening and playing together, and it involves, in the case of four tracks, composed thematic melodic material. Nothing aleatory about it.
There are many places where the foursome moves together as a unit, elegantly so, whether at the explosive apex of “Fire, Fist and Bestial Wail,” or in the quietude of the saltwater marsh at sunset on “Whispering Glades.” That kind of commonality feels less like one leading and others following than it does an ensemble responding to a collective calling. But check the immaculate way that the other three create a space for Mark Feldman to solo, straight out of a jazzier crescendo, at the end of “Coastline,” percussion, bass and piano sketching faintly behind his bold line. Or the way that Thomas Morgan and Gerry Hemingway beautifully improvise between the quicksilver opening statements of Courvoisier and Feldmanon “The Good Life,” setting up the place where they all joyously convene. Good life, indeed.
At the core of the quartet is the bond between the pianist and violinist, a musical and personal par nership that clearly involves all the potentiality of give and take. They positively frolic on Courvoisier’s “Messiaenesque,” the pianist’s sensitive and unsentimental harmonic acuity and limber rhythmic sense dovetailing with Feldman’s brilliant bowing, which is always tasty and fully engaged. At a lower rpm, they build the pianist’s title track together, the intensity rising and falling, swelling and relaxing, Feldman sitting out for some piano triangulation with the rhythm section, reuniting over the piano-bass motif, a violin cadenza in the brittlest and most delicate zone.”