The freeze framing we have before us is the 2-CD set New Today, New Everyday (Improvising Beings ib13), by four free improvisers that know what they are about and work together in tight-loose formation to bring about the collective sound art of which they are so central a part.
Who are they? Abdelhai Bennani, tenor sax, from Morocco as I understand it; Itaru Oki, trumpet; Makoto Sato, drums; and the legendary Alan Silva on synthesizer.
This is not music that is in any way casual. They are here to play, to make serious, advanced avant improvisational music, and they do. The first disk finds Bennani, Oki and Sato holding forth. Silva joins the three for the second disk.
Bennani and Oki form an excellent free front-line, Silva becomes both a front line member and an orchestrator of tone as well when he enters. Sato makes significant percussive utterances. He is central to the overall wash of sound. Bennani is a new name for me. He is a kind of instinctual player that does the right thing at the right time. The others do that as well, each in his own special way. You might say that Oki is a bit more schooled on his instrument--and the Sato/Silva contribution is all of that and deeply concentrated as well in the best moments. It becomes one four-headed musical being as the music comes at us. This is group music in the collective, unified manner than works to create a tradition-free zone, which by now is a tradition of its own.
It's freely unfolding music in the classic sense, "new thing" going strong, having something to say and saying it. There is much in the way of dynamic interplay at all times, more than there is soloist and "rhythm." That of course fits the stylistic realm of overall, allover sound canvasing that they do so well.
There is much to be heard on this set. The second disk satisfies me the most but the trio side builds up so that when the quartet comes into play, you are very ready for what follows.
The avant improv mold is one that creates a magic of the moment in the right hands. These are the hands, and there follows magic. The fact that we can examine it repeatedly with this set, in "freeze-frame," means that we can get inside the improvisational minds of the artists more so than in a totally live situation. The fact that it keeps sounding better the more you listen means you are understanding what happened that day, more and more so, and what happened was good indeed.
So listen and climb into the zone.