Uri Caine’s The Othello Syndrome. What an interesting and definitely unique potpourri of music focused on Shakespeare’s Othello. Certainly being no Shakespearean follower, I can honestly say reviewing this one was quite the fun challenge. The intermixing of sound effects and elements of R&B, rock, and jazz certainly required a significant degree of courage and vision.
After a frenzied opening track, "Othello’s Victory," featuring a very active violin and operatic vocals (with a rock-like guitar riff and some jazz piano thrown in for good measure), track 2, "Fire Song," follows with an opening experiment with sounds, as if in a sound check mode, then hops into some up-tempo straight-ahead jazz bass runs and trumpet contributions. Did I say this was interesting and unique? It certainly bears repeating. Like nothing I’ve personally experienced.
The entire album is one happy presentation of any number of musical styles. It’s certainly an earful. If you can handle being in several places at the same time and working to make sense of it all, you should have fun here. As far as musicianship goes, Uri Caine gets an A+. After all, one must have an iron grip on the direction of such a cornucopia of musical happenings to make it even remotely entertaining. I’d say Caine makes a gallant effort to do so.