From jazz to classical music to the traditional music of Brittany and Romania, James Falzone has made a name for himself as a student of many styles of music during his 30-year career.
As a result, the clarinetist’s most-ardent fans were likely unsurprised by his decision to compose a series of pieces inspired by traditional Arabic music for a music festival in his native Chicago.
“If you had to put a label on me, if you held a gun to my head and said, ‘James, what are you?’ I would say I’m a jazz musician,” said Falzone (pronounced fal-ZON-ay). “But I have such love and interest and true admiration for so many styles of music.
“Arabic music is one of those things I wanted to find some way to bring into my own sphere.”
Falzone is most celebrated as a jazz improvisationalist. He formed his Allos Musica Trio specifically to perform the pieces he wrote for the festival. Thursday, they will make their Chattanooga debut at Barking Legs Theater.
Although his pieces don’t follow the rules of the traditional Arabic maqam music framework, Falzone said they combine his musical voice with the spirit of the genre, which has fascinated him since he heard Peter Gabriel’s music growing up.
“That’s exactly where I want to be,” he said. “I’m not trying to make traditional Arabic music. I’m trying to stay true to my voice as a composer. Even if it’s a jazz record or this record or a more classical record, I’m hopeful that there’s a voice that comes through.”
During the Barking Legs show, Allos Musica Trio (inspired by the Greek “allos” meaning “other”) will perform music from Falzone’s 2010 release, “Lamentations,” original compositions and hybrid pieces from other genres filtered through Arabic modes.
“The repertoire we play has some really interesting places to latch onto, depending on your interest,” he said.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...