Chris Abelen & Bastiaan Geleijnse – Songs On The Eve Of Dismissal (2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 38:31 minutes | 423 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Chris Abelen Music Productions CAMP
Chris Abelen is a Dutch Jazz trombonist, composer & bandleader. This album is the second part of a larger project spearheaded by Chris Abelen that includes the previously issued CD, “A Day at the Office”. Taken together, the two recordings consist of a musical journey through the modern corporate office, an unlikely musical theme but one which speaks directly to the lives of the many who experience a wide range of emotions in the course of their work day. Ablelen has been able to combine funky guitar/bass/drums rhythmic patterns with post-bop, modal jazz improvisations into a seamless fit.
Abelen is noted for his readiness to take chances and move to the edge of what is happening. In this album, the risk he takes is to join with lyricist Bastiaan Geleijnse in producing a song cycle about the existential situation of the corporate workplace, with its alienation and ennui, which was already critiqued in another era by Marx, Kierkegaard, Durkheim, and others, but became magnified with the resurgence of corporate greed and a cybernetic view of the employee as a replaceable piece of software. In this respect, the album is a testament to “Generation X” born after the baby boomers, who were disaffected and directionless in jobs of uncertain duration. It is also relevant in a different way for Millennials who have entered into the work force with unrealistic expectations, often leading to disillusionment. Pop and rock music contains strains of these struggles, but this is, so far as I know, the first jazz-infused album of songs that lament the plight of the office worker during these heady times.
The album is also unique in that it’s more than a “theme” album: It’s a “concept” album, taking on in depth and detail a subject that is rarely given musical form, except in rare Broadway shows like How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The words and music of Songs on the Eve of Dismissal convey a genuine sense of what it’s like to invest in a job in which you hardly know what’s expected of you and in which you are regarded by your employer as a replaceable part. Although unique, it follows a tradition in jazz, rock and funk, of allusions to personal and societal dilemmas and conflicts. The blues itself laments our suffering while at the same time providing a healing balm for it. Folk songs like “John Henry” sing of the sadness of the laborer (“he put down his hammer and he died…”) The more modern little known jazz tune, Bob Dorough’s “A Small Day Tomorrow,” is about trading “all of those big wheels with all of their big deals” for a weekend “drop out and copout.” This album takes up such themes of workplace blues in a full-blooded, full-throated way, probing the emotional life of a woman (whose words are sung beautifully by Lorena del Mar) who is going lose a meaningless job that is paradoxically the only meaning she’s got. Psychoanalysts, take out your notebooks!
01 – Song on the Eve of Dismissal
02 – Prayer to the Shareholder
03 – Off-Site Weekend
04 – Imposter Syndrome
05 – Out of the Box
06 – At Home
07 – Nobody Told Me
08 – Honey Text Me Back
09 – I Hate to Let You Go
Chris Abelen – trombone
Lorena del Mar – voice
Angelo Verploegen – trumpet
Floris van der Vlugt – alto saxophone
Tini Thomsen – bass clarinet & baritone saxophone
Thijs Huijbens – guitar
Ulrich Wentzlaff-Eggebert – double bass
Yonga Sun – drums