Music Reviews : Michael Carney at Cal State Long Beach

Apparently intended as a primer of percussion techniques and styles, a recital by percussionist Michael Carney netted confusing results Thursday night at Daniel Recital Hall, Cal State Long Beach. The hodgepodge of jazz, pop and new-music styles, skipped haphazardly from one example to another, an uneven collection of tidbits rather than an event with a clear direction.

Clad in a natty tuxedo, Carney introduced each piece from an on-stage microphone, giving cursory insight to each undertaking. With few exceptions, he ended each set of remarks with the banal addendum, "Hope you enjoy it."

In the world premiere of the New Age, programmatic "Indian Fantasy" by student composer Van Decker, Carney attentively soloed on a single steel drum while backed by synthesizer, piano and two more percussionists.

The piece offered little for the imagination: a concoction of simple tonal chord progressions, ostinatos and pseudo-Native-American tom-tomming and rattling--along with bugle calls and quotes from the Two-Part Inventions by Bach representing the invasion by Paleface.

Ingolf Dahl's atonal Duettino Concertante for flute and percussion represented a more intelligent endeavor. Carney aggressively performed on a percussion setup of graduated drums while flutist John Barcellona competently read the flute part of melodic and rhythmic motives.

Separate movements from larger works by Alfred Fissinger and William Kraft demonstrated various techniques, but offered little that was substantial. Vibraphone transcriptions of pieces by Schubert and Bach proceeded slowly and uneventfully.

Finishing off the evening, a virtuosic quartet made up of Carney and student musicians played compositions in a bop jazz style by Horace Silver, Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins.

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