The only way to sum up the style of Chicago clarinetist and composer James Falzone is to say that it
can’t be done. Falzone is an inveterate genre-crosser, and though he squawks and swoops with some
of the city’s best free improvisers, it’s his fluency in classical and ethnic European cultures that set him
apart...an already important Chicago voice...
--Matthew Lurie, Time Out Chicago
...[Falzone] weaves music from threads of classical and jazz, and colors it with Middle Eastern filligree.
His playing is technically unassailable, his deployment of a bassoon and three strings within his sextet
impressively intricate, and the tripartite title piece summons some lovely textures.
--Bill Meyer, DownBeat
As heard on the terrific new The Sign and the Thing Signified, this group led by clarinetist
James Falzone is distinguished both by its mix of classically inspired, through-composed, and
improvised material and by its instrumentation: the current lineup includes cellist Kevin Davis, violist
Amy Cimini, bassoonist Katherine Young, bassist Krzysztof Pabian, percussionist Eric Platz, and Todd
Carter on electronics. Through impressive use of counterpoint and a knack for encouraging discrete
interaction among the players, Falzone keeps the group's unusual assemblage of dry timbres from
blending into a single astringent wash. Whether on an adaptation of a Purcell aria or a solo clarinet
vignette, the music maintains a bracing clarity and sense of focus.
--Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader
This is a genuinely unusual record, thoughtful and thought-provoking.
--Duncan Heining, Jazzwise
Falzone brings several musical styles into his compositions. He is an articulate and interesting
composer who utilizes the structure of classical music, the rhythms of Klezmer, the spark of
polytonality and an abandon witnessed in free blowing to build a vibrant body.
--Jerry D'Souza, AllAboutJazz.com
...Falzone blends an impressive array of influences into a singular style all his own. Composing
yearning lyrical lines filled with dramatic turns of phrase and dynamic shifts in mood, his writing style
blends the angular rhythmic punch and spontaneous freedom of Henry Threadgill with the folksy,
subdued lyrical quality of Jimmy Giuffre and the esoteric mysticism of Oliver Messiaen. An engaging
album that reveals new depths with repeated listens, The Sign and the Thing Signified is
another rich document demonstrating the endless versatility and creativity of the Chicago creative
improvised music scene.
--Troy Collins, Cadence
Clarinetist James Falzone and his improvising chamber sextet Allos Musica have taken symbols,
whether real, imagined or conjured, and have made music that transcends category, moving it into a
unique realm. Using bassoon, viola, cello and double bass, flavored by the sensitive percussion work of
the fine Chicago musician Tim Mulvenna, a witty, piquant and eminently listenable Falzone extrapolates
on past traditions made utterly modern...this is a consistently intriguing date from Falzone and friends,
and comes highly recommended.
--Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide