Monday, August 24, 2009

No School Right Now

Right now I've been listening to one of the first Ayler Download-Only Series recordings (number 003): No School by the group called No School. It's three European cats, none of whom I have previously heard much about. (And of course, that only means that either 1.) I am hopelessly uninformed about the Eurojazz scene, or 2.) These are musicians that folks on this side of the pond are still learning about).

No School is alto and soprano player Jorgen Adolfsson, trombonist Andreas Hedwall and drummer Niklas Korssell. The set brings to mind one of my favorite improv recordings, The Forest and the Zoo (ESP) by Steve Lacy. What I mean to say is that the roles each player takes on and the structure of the music have resonances with that classic disk. Korssell has the kind of rough-and-ready energy and brusquely trashy approach that Louis Moholo had on the Lacy disk. And the sax-bone interactions bear some affinity with Enrico Rava and Lacy's trumpet-soprano explorations.

That's not to say that there's some kind of conscious imitation going on. Rather there is a genealogy of sound structures in which both ensembles participate. No School is somehow a descendant of The Forest and the Zoo. They both partake of some essence in common.

Even if you do not know that Lacy disk, though, you might well find this recording quite pleasurable, like I did. That is, if you appreciate the playful, puckish side of free improv. These are three musically compatible players out to make interesting group sounds, not so much to express strong emotions. They are like what a souffle is to a dish of pasta. After you listen there's plenty of room for something else, I would think. Though not extraordinarily heavy, their "course" should surely be memorable to you long after you have listened.

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