Friday, August 31, 2012

William Parker, Centering, Unreleased Early Recordings 1976-1987

Box sets can go a number of ways. For years the typical set contained all released material by an artist on a label plus a number of "bonus tracks," unreleased numbers and/or alternate takes. That was and is fine if you are a devotee of the artist, must have it all, and don't mind paying. Otherwise it can be a lot of money if all you really wanted were those few extra tracks.

Of course there are box sets of other sorts. Today's set is that. William Parker's Centering (No Business CD 42-47), as the subtitle makes clear, is composed entirely of Unreleased Early Recordings 1976-1987. It's six CDs in all, with booklet and attractive slipcase.

What makes all that important? It's William Parker the superb bassist, jazz composer and bandleader at his very best. It's avant "jazz," free expression, new music in quite decent sound quality, covering some of Maestro Parker's significant associations and performances in and around New York during the period. It is an ear opener.

First I need to give you a rundown of who does what and when. There are some fine duos and trios from the early period--with Daniel Carter, with Charles Gayle, and a trio with John Hagen and Arthur Williams. There is a lot of music from the Centering Dance Music Ensemble with David S. Ware and Denis Charles (that for the performance included Patricia Nicholson's dancing). That's one of my favorites of the set, but there are many high points to be heard.

Then there are the mid-to-large ensembles: a vocal trio of Ellen Christi, Brenda Bakr and Lisa Sokolov with Parker on bass and Rashid Bakr on drums. From there, the Big Moon Ensemble octet of Jemeel Moondoc, Carter, Williams, Roy Campbell Jr., Parker, Jay Oliver, Charles and Rashid Bakr. There's the music for dance with a Septet including Billy Bang and Ellen Christi. Finally there's the full blown Centering Big Band for a full disk. That's Carter, Moondoc, Ricardo Strobert, Ware, Charles Tyler, Raphe Malik, Campbell, Alex Lodico, Masahiko Kono, Zen Matsura, Sokolov, Christi and of course Parker himself.

The point of the rundown is to show the wide variety of groupings and the presence of lots of avant masters.

In the end, after hearing this entire set several times (and I will surely be listening much more), I am left with a deep sense of the importance of William Parker's music on the scene in those days. He became increasingly widely known as an avant bassist of the very highest tier, sure, but as is clear from these recordings, he was an important force on the scene as band leader and composer-conceptualist as well.

There is a rather huge amount of great music in the set. Yes, there are some free blow-outs of a high order, with Carter and Gayle, and the trio of Ware, Parker, and Charles really moves along.

The mid-to-large ensembles and the vocal-oriented sounds show us a complex music that surely is free in many ways. But there are some great writing and blowing frameworks too, and all of it hangs together very well.

Space and time don't permit me to comment at length on each cut, six FULL disks worth, but I am left after hearing the set in some ways a changed man. I mean that I am very, very impressed with this music. It puts his early years in a very significant light. He was making important music then, as now. And the music of the set is endlessly rewarding to hear. A treasure trove is what it is, something that will delight, stimulate and enthrall anyone with an interest in and love of the new in improvised music. Highly recommended.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Michael Bisio Matthew Shipp Duo, Floating Ice

Not everybody can be at the top. Among the very best of the improvisers today. The most creative and inventive. The most consistent. Michael Bisio, acoustic bass, and Matthew Shipp, piano, belong to the group of those very few, special players active in avant improvisational music, what is often called "free jazz." But the category doesn't mean anything when they play. Because they are playing what they hear and feel, not "category music." They have been playing together in a trio with drummer Whit Dickey for a couple of years now, isn't it? And now they pair down to a duo for some adventurous music on the about-to-be-released Floating Ice (Relative Pitch 1005).

It's the two of them thrusting the music forward as they continue to bring the history of the style to bear as reference and jumping off points. So you'll hear some themes that bounce and bop like Monk meets Nichols, references to the ragtime era, and other pre-epochal glances.

And throughout this disk, as is apparent in all they do lately, there is improvising of high originality. Michael is a thoughtful bass tornado whether playing pizzicato or arco, and brings deep feeling and deeply charged energy into the mix. He plays lines that you don't expect, pretty much all the time. Matthew is a lickless pianist. He creates out of a large imaginative palette of musical sounds and he virtually plays what he hears one-on-one with the imagination of it. So you hear him in all his immediacy, in all his various creative moods and channelings of the music and what it means to him.

The two together as a duo do not disappoint. But then I don't believe anything either has done in the last decade has let me down in any way. They play music with the structure and heft of composition, but it's spontaneous. That is remarkable.

These are two at the top of the era and they behave like it on this wonderful disk. It's beyond category. Avant, sure. But essential no matter what you call it. Piano-bass duets? Call it that. This is our music today and they are making some of the best!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Francois Tusques, Noel McGhie, Topolitologie

Pianist Francois Tusques was one of the early, pioneering avant-free jazz practitioners in Europe in the '60s, yet not much of his music made it to the States. I confess that I am just catching up with some of those early recordings, and they are revealing.

Like his contemporary pianist colleagues Dave Burrell and Burton Greene, he has ofttimes turned to original compositions in song-form (minus vocals) freely realized, as opposed to completely extemporaneous ventures.

The recent album Topolitologie (Improvising Beings 02), with drummer Noel McGhie, finds him in this mode, improvising around a series of originals along with a couple of bop-to-out standards.

It seems to me one can say many things about this music, because it covers a lot of ground and is realized very freely. What hit me after a number of listens was the expressive creativity unleashed. McGhie gives a nicely loose accompaniment. Tusques covers a wide spectrum of historical influences, as I hear it, from Jelly Roll to Monk to calypso and beyond, but in completely original, idiomatic ways.

He never was a pianist who capitalized on whirlwind technique or capacious harmonic sophistications and he isn't that today either. He communicates directly, soulfully, very freely and loosely and the program is filled with interesting music.

I find in the performances on this disk a very human endeavor that brings on good feelings whenever I listen. Maestro Tusques today is playing the essence of the music as he feels it. And it comes across warmly, openly, expressively. Listen to this one a few times and you may find yourself a budding Tusquesologist. And you will no doubt be smiling all the while, perhaps.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Jessica Jones, Mark Taylor, Live at the Freight

Here's something a little off the usual path: a quartet with the front line of tenor (Jessica Jones) and French horn or mellophone (Mark Taylor). Live at the Freight (New Artists 1052) gives you a generous program of Jones and Taylor originals recorded at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, Berkeley, California, in 2011.

It's music that shows the oblique influence of everything from classic Tristano to Mingus's Jazz Workshop units, Wayne Shorter to the wide world of post-bop modern at large.

Jessica and Mark show a highly developed personal sound on their instruments, in part a product of interesting and varied backgrounds and in part sheer talent. Their writing is no less distinctive.

John Shifflet on bass and Jason Lewis on drums have a plasticity that goes well with the frontliners' vision, helping things come together well throughout the set.

It's thinking person's jazz. And it's very good. Recommended.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wally Shoup and Paul Kikuchi, Aurora Distillations

Drummer-percussionist-conceptualist-leader Paul Kikuchi has been devising some remarkable explorations of the free-ambient spectrum in years past. Many of the releases I have covered in the various blogs. There's a new one, for limited release on LP and as a download. It's saxman Wally Shoup and Paul in a series of duets, Aurora Distillations (Prefecture 005).

First thing to note: the entire session was recorded in a 2.6-mile-long cascade tunnel built in 1900 and abandoned in 1928. The environment provided the date with a natural ambiance that frames all the music in a most unusual way. There are long reverberences more than echoes, stimulated by where the musicians set up, and the drums and percussion benefit from it especially. Shoup's alto, too, gets much from the natural cavernousness. In fact Wally often seems to be playing the tunnel as much as the alto. Or rather, he plays to the tunnel, like how the JATP sax soloists would often project to the balconies with crowd arousing honks and squeals. The content of the playing-to and the results, understandably, are quite different here. But there is a kind of parallel.

There are four relatively short works, all filled with a free evocation, almost a ritual sense of sonic purpose. The third segment is by far my favorite, for Kikuchi's remarkable play of metallic bell-like percussion, but it's all worthwhile. This may not be Wally Shoup's greatest performance and this may not be Paul Kikuchi's most impressive ambient outing. But in both cases one must remember that it is spontaneous music to sound the old tunnel, and so it is not as much a performance as a paean to that space.

It's something to appreciate and zone into. It may not be absolutely essential but it is absolutely a world of its own. Explore.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tony Monaco, Celebration

In the ongoing "Great Organ Trio Revival" we have been experiencing for more than a decade now, Tony Monaco may well be the one to take the "popularity crown". The innovation crown or the artistically most subtle crown are other considerations.

His special 2-CD set Celebrations (Chicken Coop 7016) gives you a vast assortment of the sorts of things he's been doing. Half of the compilation covers highlights from the seven albums he's put out previously. The other half has him settling in with some of his current playing partners.

Monaco went right to the source by studying with Jimmy Smith. His playing reflects that very much--he is a Jimmy Smith on steroids. A man of monster B-3 chops and an insatiable appetite to make that Hammond sound. What he isn't is especially subtle. You wont hear an awful lot of Larry Young or Charles Earland's post-Smith-iterations, though he can do funk right up there with the best of them. Like Jimmy Smith, his music bypasses mostly the Mingus-Trane-Miles phase of the music and locks in with blues licks up the ying-yang and lots of minor sevenths. You do know the drill I suspect.

But the fact is, he's a man of huge energy and drive. He does this sort of thing so well and in the process, takes the strictly Smithian ethos a few steps further.

There's so much music in this set, I can only point towards it. Yes, there are the bluesy things, the soul things, the Blue Note boogaloo things, the grits and gravy, then there are some cuts designed for radio friendliness--a number with a gospel group, a less than successful Monaco Sinatra-ish vocal on a ballad. . . . and others.

When he's got the soulful bluesy thing happening, he's very much in the groove and no doubt in the handful of Hammond exponents that can nail that like a manic carpenter. He's less successful with harmonic sophistications or with bopping hard.

You don't expect everybody to do everything, I suppose. And when you remove mentally the couple of excessively commercial cuts, this is an impressive testament to Monaco's Hammond mastery. He's a crowd pleaser but he sure can play!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bad Luck, Bloodroot EP

We've been coming across tenorist/composer Neil Welch a bit lately (especially his Sleeper). Here's another one of interest. It's Neil and drummer Chris Icasiano under the name Bad Luck, in a twenty-something minute EP Bloodroot (Table and Chairs). It came out in May but would be worth talking about if it came out 10 years ago or yesterday.

It's a free duet of tenor and drums of the avant free variety. Lots of dynamic free drumming of the heftier sort, with almost a rock density of attack. Neil's tenor covers lots of sonic ground, with color being at the foremost but energy happening nicely at times too. But that would be fine if rather unexceptional if it wasn't for what Neil does with his tenor and the digital delay.

He manages to get delay effects that overlap tenor parts and repeat them like some kind of unearthly gamelan, which when combined with Chris's energetic drumming put one in another zone altogether. So in the end there is something haunting and avant pleasing happening. You can get a download of this one for very little but it will send you to a place very much more great than little!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Benjamin Duboc, Itaru Oki, Nobusiko

Contrabassist Benjamin Duboc and trumpeter Itaru Oki engage in extended free duet play on the intriguing album Nobusiko (Improvising Beings ib01). There are eight interactions, each one different, all filled with inspired freedom.

There are times when there is a kind of cosmic space between the notes that reminds me just a bit of classical music for the Japanese Noh. Other times there are lucid avant vocabulary conversations between the two in masterful fashion. Duboc shows his attention to contrabass sound in the ordinary and extended sense and has an intensity and dynamic phrasing that goes well with Itaru Oki's extended trumpet technique and soulful effusions.

There are points where Benjamin's bass combines with Itaru on flute, tubes and percussion for something ritualistic. It even got my wife's attention--something not easy to do with the amount of music wafting through our space on any given day.

A duet of this sort can become boring in the wrong hands. Duboc and Oki are never that. They maintain your interest and show that they are originals committed to the expression of the "now" of contemporary improvisation.

Definitely recommended.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Curtis Fuller, Down Home

Curtis Fuller, legend, trombonist of great influence and flair, elder statesman of an age where many might be inclined to take it easy, Curtis keeps on going. His new album Down Home (Capri 74116-2) puts him in the company of some very-much-better-than-average hard boppers for a program of down home Curtis originals, a couple more by band members and a standard for good measure.

This is rootsy music in the Fuller tradition, with a three-horn frontline of Curtis, Keith Oxman (tenor), and Al Hood (trumpet and fluegel), along with Chip Stephens, piano, Ken Walker on bass, and Todd Reid, drums.

There is some good soloing going on (Oxman impresses especially but Hood can turn your head too) and it's classic-style Fuller music. Curtis may not sound as vigorous as he did 20 years ago, but when he plays, it's pure Fuller, albeit boiled down to the crux, the essence of his style.

Down Home is in the pocket and hard hitting. Keep it going Curtis. We hear you!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Black Butterflies, Rainbows for Ramon

The Black Butterflies return for their sophomore effort, Rainbows for Ramon (Self Release T88002) and it's good. They lock into an Afro-Latin loose groove much of the time with some hot percussion/drumming from Bopa "King" Carre, Fred Berryhill and Kenny Wollesen, with Nick Gianni making the bass a part of it as well as a hip speller of the riffs and tonalities of the tunes.

Leader Mercedes Figueras plays a hot soprano-alto-tenor configuration throughout, seconded by Tony Larokko on soprano and alto, and Levi Barcourt makes important, effective ensemble and solo sounds on piano. Mercedes has been a part of Karl Berger's big band excusions, and Karl returns the favor with his magnetic presence on this date--vibes of course but also melodica.

It's music that looks forward while hearkening back to classic Afro-out Pharoah Sanders enclaves (they even do a piece of his). Sonny Simmons-Prince Lasha's Firebirds comes to mind as well, as much for the instrumentation as Mercedes & Tony's blazing tones on alto. But they put things in their own court. This is not a derivative, it's an original.

And the pieces make it all come together. There's Gershwin's "Summertime" done with Latin flare and a Figueras band vocal (and very convincing Berger melodica), a number of very infectious numbers penned by Mercedes, especially the title track, a Karl Berger piece that hums and Tony Larokko's "Balafon Madness," which brings the African influence front and center, Karl Berger and Tony in the spotlight.

This album excels through the excellent band spirit and the grooves they set up, very tuneful and memorable songs, and the hot and loosely driving solos from Mercedes and company.

It's a breath of fresh air. Grab a copy and send the summer off with a blaze.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Kali. Z. Fasteau, People of the Ninth, with Kidd Jordan, 2006

It is time for another CD in our survey of the music of Kali. Z. Fasteau: People of the Ninth--New Orleans and the Hurricane 2005 (Flying Note CD9011). It's a well-paced program of music that features Kidd Jordan in great form on tenor with Kali on piano, cello, soprano sax, nai flute and aquasonic, and Michael T. A. Thompson on drums and balafon.

Much of the program pairs Kidd's lucid emotive sax virtuosity with widely overarching freedom drumming from Michael and Kali matching Kidd with her idiomatic and wholly appropriate sound expressions on the various instruments she here chooses to foreground. The nai flute is breathy and limber, piano tumultuous and sonically multivoiced, cello gnarly, soprano cosmic and so forth.

There are no random or tentative moments throughout the hour set. Everyone focuses and gets each segment zoned in.

Most definitely one of Kali's best and Kidd Jordan/Michael T.A. Thompson at their finest.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rodrigo Amado, Motion Trio & Jeb Bishop, Burning Live at Jazz AO Centro

Here's a session that smokes. Tenor incendiary Rodrigo Amado teams with trombone master Jeb Bishop and the Motion Trio for Burning Live at Jazz AO Centro (JACC 017).

It's an hour of live doings from the AO Centro Festival, Coimbra, Portugal. The group, which includes Miguel Mira on cello and Gabriel Ferrandini on drums, gets into three fairly long free improv pieces.

The rhythm team brings the arrhythmic heat, and Rodrigo and Jeb pour on the fuel to get a continual energy burn. The two are in a red-hot mode, bringing the A-level of energy and inspiration. You hear a bit more of the Archie Shepp "cry" in Rodrigo's playing, perhaps due to Bishop's post-Ruddian all-over smears and incantation-exorcisms. But there is never a question who is playing. It's inspired two-horn free-for-all sublimity from first to last. They play some passages as a duo. The rest is the full band going at it.

Free-avant lovers will find this one irresistible. I most certainly did. I hope the two get to play together and record more.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Keith Jarrett, Sleeper, 1979

Sometimes you hear unreleased music from an important period in an artist's career and get a kind of epiphany. That's what happened to me listening to the newly released 2-CD Sleeper (ECM B0017162-02), a live recording from 1979 with the remarkable European Quartet of Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen. Though I loved the American Quartet of Jarrett, Redman, Haden and Motian for their very idiomatic, original way, the European outfit on the right night could blow away all comers.

Sleeper, recorded on just such an occasion in Tokyo, proceeds to do just that. The rhythm section is wound up like a top and spins, spins, spins with threads of fire. Jan Garbarek is in fully fleshed out form and lets loose with some of his finest recorded solos.

And Keith. . . you may as I sometimes do forget what a master of phrase he was then. He still is, of course, but then he had the kundalini energy wave going full tilt. He could play just about anything that came to his fertile imaginative musical mind, and did.

This long and intricate set of music reminds you and affirms to you that the Jarrett Quartet was not just one of the most popular groups in jazz at the time, they were also among the very best, the very innovative, the very original, the very satisfying. Time passed and each of them has gone on to other peaks but never was it quite like this. The times changed, the music changed with it. Nonetheless this is Jarrett at a high peak indeed.

This is music that deserves to be called great. Because it is. It's at least as good as the earlier Personal Mountains live disk. Maybe better. Indispensible, in other words.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Harris Eisenstadt, Canada Day III

As promised two days ago, here is the other new album by Harris Eisenstadt, Canada Day III (Songlines 1596-2). It's the paired down quintet of Nate Wooley, trumpet, Matt Bauder, tenor, Chris Dingman, vibes, Garth Stevenson, contrabass, and of course Harris on drums and compositions.

This is more music of fascination. Harris sometimes writes music you might not always expect of a drummer. That is not intended as deprecatory. What I mean is that the music of course has a rhythmic component, but it is often the long flow of sequence that prevails. Now that happens to give Harris lots of space to do his excellent time variations, but it also has a kind of multi-dimensionality--long flow and solo improvisations or ensemble counterpoint--that breaks it up and gets polyvalency-polysemantics going (OK, this is a jazz column, so I should say I mean something with several dimensions, several meanings at the same time).

And OK bebop of course always has had the cycle of changes that was the long flow backdrop to the solo and rhythmn section punctuations. Harris can have harmonic cycles in motion but there is a more through-composed quality to the flow. It often involves motives and mood. Finally it's not just that he does this, it's the distinctive how and what that sets the music apart as different, original.

In this way Harris can have fairly long pieces that do not waste time--everything is of a piece and everything makes great use of the time spent. I don't need to go into the tendency of CDs and their spacious time element encouraging artists to indulge in overly long programs and perhaps stretching out in ways that overtax the listener. That's not what happens here or in any of Harris's recordings. The music is necessary and sufficient, never indulgent.

Needless to say all the artists here improvise with their own originality and feeling. Harris on drums is somebody to listen to productively just in himself. Dingman's vibes give the ensemble its special sound quality and he can weave lines, but then Garth is strong as well. The Wooley-Bauder team is excellent of course, here as elsewhere.

Composer Eisenstadt comes through with more of his sophisticated yet fired-up subtlety.

Don't miss this one!! Really.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tyson Naylor Trio, Kosmonauten

A fanfare sort of rolling Ornette-cum-Jarrett figure sets the Tyson Naylor Trio's Kosmonauten (Songlines 1594-2) off and rolling. Some free playing and a riff in 10 comes into play and Tyson does a sort of Bley-Jarrett rollicking solo.

Tyson is a native of Vancouver. After three years in Berlin, he returns to his homeland and gives us a nicely put together trio offering here. It's Tyson on piano, Skye Brooks on drums and Russell Sholberg on acoustic bass. Francois Houle joins the enclave on clarinet for several numbers.

The emphasis is on loose contemporary free-influenced piano trio music a la post-Jarrett. There is a modified boogie, a rather lovely jazz-waltz, some free excursions, bluesy ballads, some swinging, and a song very Carla other words, a good bit of variety. Houle makes a fine addition on the tracks he graces.

All in all Tyson Naylor is off to a nice start for his return to home. If he continues to develop along his own lines, he will be even more compelling. As it is this is eclectic, well done modern piano trio music.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Harris Eisenstadt, Canada Day Octet

Harris Eisenstadt in his Canada Day series as well as on other recent releases has been creating consistently some of the most interesting jazz composition-ensemble music today. It is interesting because it is not what you'd expect vis-a-vis what is generally going on out there right now.

And so is the case on his new Canada Octet (482 Music 482-1080). It's a slightly larger group (an octet obviously) of Harris on drums, Nate Wooley, trumpet, Ray Anderson, trombone, Dan Peck, tuba, Jason Mears, alto, Matt Bauder, tenor, Chris Dingman, vibes, and Garth Stevenson, contrabass. All tend to be first-rate improvisers as you will no doubt know by reading over the personnel. And they are given space to do so within the structure of the two pieces ("The Ombudsman 1-4," "Ballad for 10.4.7").

Harris writes music that sometimes flows chorale-like yet splinters into sections marked by contrasting velocities and countertextures--long notes versus rapid free drumming and a grainy series of low notes on tuba, for example, all of which transforms into a section featuring rapid free horns that enter and exit unexpectedly and repeatedly.

It is music that grabs you yet remains for the most part quite subtle. It has freedom yet remains organically true to a compositional thrust.

Eisenstadt uses the color combinations of the instruments at hand in brilliant ways and (in a way like Duke) lets the personalities of the improvisers provide a critical dimension to the outcome of each piece.

There is much more one could say, but since there is another new one by Harris that I will be covering in a few days, I will say more then.

Canada Day Octet is Harris Eisenstadt's music in full-flower. It is music of consistency, brilliance, and originality. And the band is something else too.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Amina Figarova, Twelve

Composer-pianist-bandleader Amina Figarova sure is productive. The latest album, Twelve (In + Out 77114-2), is the latest in a series and I am afraid I have lost count, but there are a fair number of them. Is it twelve? I do not know.

This album celebrates the move to New York City (Queens) that she, her partner flautist Bart Platteau and the band recently made.

It's a suite of interconnected compositions for the sextet, which has Bart as an important tonal element and major soloist, along with trumpeter Ernie Hammes and tenor-soprano artist Marc Mommaas as the rest of the front line sound-color block and soloists.

The rhythmn section of Jergen Vierdag, bass, and Chris Strik, drums, plays a crucial supportive role thoughout.

The emphasis in Amina's ensemble is on her powerful compositions, masterfully arranged for the ensemble, and bright soloing from the horns and Amina. Her work, partially because of the ensemble's instrumentation and partly due to her predisposition, shows the foundational influence of Herbie Hancock's middle period, the period of some masterpiece recordings like the Prisoner and Speak Like A Child.

Now mind you Ms. Figarova has taken that basic sound and gone more and more into her own personal world with it. She is a composer of great finesse and subtlety but can swing the charts too.

This new album shows her and the ensemble continuing on their journey, the music evolving, the group growing ever more close-knit. She and her band are of a piece, now instantly recognizable.

It's more music of wonder and perhaps some elation. Nice!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Zion Trio, Fight Against Babylon

Want to hear something very different? The New Zion Trio's Fight Against Babylon (Veal 007) comes through with something that will put you in unexpected places. It's a piano trio with a different approach. Jamie Saft is at the piano and Rhodes, Larry Grenadier plays contrabass, and Craig Santiago is at the drums.

It's a music of space and solidity they play. Starting with the basic rhythmic and riff concepts of classic reggae, and often working in minor modes that reflect a wide Jewish stylistic heritage, they create a music that expands outward and inward.

The rhythm section propels the sound outward with rock-steady reggae sensibilities; and Jamie Saft lets the music breathe inward with block chords and musical commentary on piano that has the sense of space and form of Ahmad Jamal in his classic years, maybe a touch of Red Garland, a pinch of the Necks in one of their zones, and flat-out originality.

It's a remarkable recording. I have not heard the like. And it makes for a beautiful listen.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Rich Halley 4, Back From Beyond

The Rich Halley 4 continue to evolve and develop nicely, as can be heard in their latest, Back From Beyond (Pine Eagle 004). With them this time is the West Coast trombone notable Micheal Vlatkovich, of whom of course we have heard a good deal of on these pages over time.

He joins Rich's tenor, Clyde Reed's bass and Carson Halley's drums for a lively set of freebopping. These are good blowing vehicles by Halley and a few collective comps by the band. There are a couple of loose funk numbers that stay within the wide groove open horn style of the more swingtime oriented numbers.

Rich and Michael both work well together in tandem, with chemistry aiding and abetting the inspiration. Rich and Michael sound excellent and Clyde and Carson set up the music well with a very together stance.

This has become one of the more important free-freebop outfits on the West Coast and this album gives you plenty of reasons why. Give it your attention and it will give back!