Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Nick Fraser Quartet, Starer

Here's a crack quartet led by drummer Nick Fraser. Starer (Ontario Arts Council) deftly combines new music and free jazz with Fraser's compositional frameworks that set off the open drumming, the bottom density of double bassist Rob Clutton and cello intensities of Andrew Downing, nicely balanced by the tenor and soprano exuberance of the formidable Tony Malaby.

This is music that wakes you up to new possibilities that lay out well and pointilistically drive forward with a contrapuntal kind of avant swing that starts with Nick's all-over fullness of tone and gets handed forward with the complex string work and sax soulfulness. It is a furtherance of the Too Many Continents album Nick and Tony did a while ago with Kris Davis. Clutton and Downing give the music a different spin but it's all on the road to the very new.

It is both very original and very successful in its free-structured juxtapositions.

One of the more startling avant jazz albums this year to date. Bravo Nick and Quartet! Get this one!

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