Friday, June 8, 2012

Joe McPhee, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, Brooklyn DNA

Windmaster Joe McPhee and contrabassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten team up once again to pay tribute to the borough of New York City that, both historically and in the present, has formed a vital center for jazz musicians, and undoubtedly showcases as much of the music as any location in the United States today. Appropriately Brooklyn DNA (Clean Feed 244) is the title of the CD.

It's a wide-ranging series of duets that have plenty of freedom, structured by the logic of the artists' approach and the melodic themes that intertwine with the improvisations in many of the segments. A freely conceived theme-and-variations approach has been an important aspect of Joe McPhee's work over the years and it continues on here at key points.

Flaten brings up the bottom with intelligent and resourceful all-over playing. He has technique and imagination. He seems to thrive on the open freedom such a duet provides. McPhee creates his vital presence on pocket trumpet, soprano and alto.

The music comes at you with energy and a depth charge or gets contemplative. There are segments that imply a free pulse and those that phrase openly without reference to time.

By now Joe McPhee is a sort of modern avant institution. He is in a classic present. Ingebrigt Haken Flaten gives the music the thrust it needs to move forward. It's a great combination and they are at their best.

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