Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Jon Irabagon's "Outright!"
Jon Irabagon is one of those adventurous souls that comes along every so often. He interjects a kind of "anything goes" philosophy into all he plays, and he covers just about everything you can think of. On Foxy (see earlier posting) he showed how he could play one bebop number for 79 minutes in a trio context and generate the kind of excitement that is reserved for the rarest moments.
It's time to set the clock back to 2007, and his quintet Outright! (Innova 699). This is an excellent disk. It gives you the ensemble context of his music in ways that intrigue the ears.
For most of the album, Irabagon's alto is joined by Russ Johnson's trumpet, Kris Davis on keys, Eivind Opsvik on bass, and Jeff Davis at the drums. Jessie Lewis joins on guitar for one cut, the Outright! Choir steps into the fray on yet another, and a big-band version of the group prevails for ten minutes on yet another.
This is ensemble music that unleashes Mr. Irabagon's very expansive stylistic grasp. The music ranges from highly original free-avant excursions to bop, swing and even New Orleans style. What impresses me about this one is the organic synthesis that happens between the pre-planned composed aspects and the improvisational. There is a seamless meld most of the time, a natural unfolding of the music toward a totality that does not show its seams.
This is provocative, very lively jazz-improvisation. It gives you another take on why Irabagon is becoming very important on the scene today.