Marc Mellits is to classical music what Weather Report and Return to Forever were to jazz. This youngish (40) former student of Martin Bresnick is propping open the door to classical music for rock fans. Holed up somewhere in the vicinity of Syracuse, New York, Mellits recently issued a beautiful CD – Mellits Consort, Paranoid Cheese. It’s on his label, Dacia Music.
“Paranoid Cheese” hits on all the spots Mellits aims for with his music. Above all, it’s engaging and accessible, and uses the grammar of a wide range of music – from minimalism to rock. Mellits Consort is made up of Mellits on keyboard; the astonishing guitarist Dominic Fraca; Bucharest native Cristina Buciu on violin, and Elizabeth Simkin on cello. A smart stroke was the addition of Danny Tunick on marimba. Tunick’s wood adds more texture and warmth to Mellits’ style of “post-minimalism.”
Mellits pays homage to one of his obvious influences, Phillip Glass, in his track “Broken Glass,” but it makes clear that Mellits isn’t afraid of jagged edges that send him, in a controlled way, to a multitude of directions.
While all the music on this 11-track CD is all different, it’s also all of a piece, best heard all at once. It’s a rewarding experience.