Friday, September 27, 2013

The Convergence Quartet, Slow and Steady

Free music is no simple matter. It can work marvelously when the chemistry between players is right. Or it can earnestly go along but never quite reach a collective point of convergence. Happily, the group named after such occurrences, the Convergence Quartet, achieves such a state consistently and rewardingly on their album Slow and Steady (No Business NBCD 53).

The band has excellent chemistry. Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet), Alexander Hawkins (piano), Dominic Lash (double bass) and Harris Eisenstadt (drums) each has a hand in the compositions presented (live at the Vortex in England as part of the London Jazz Festival). They are substantial. And each contributes excellent improvisations within a first-tier group dynamic.

I have not explored the music of Alexander Hawkins much at all but he shows himself stylistically well-suited to this outfit, with both a free/new music and a harmonic sensibility as needed. Like the others in this band he is not readily pigeonholed as a follower of x, y, or z, but rather has his own voice.

It's a beautifully hewn set! No one dominates; everyone dominates. There is tender introspection and hard-edged dynamics side-by-side here. It will make you think. It will let you feel. It will inspire you to a far away musical mindset that energizes and causes reflection. Very much an album to hear.


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