Thursday, September 12, 2013

Steven Lugerner, For We Have Heard, with Myra Melford, Matt Wilson, Darren Johnston

Steven Lugerner? After hearing his limited edition LP For We Have Heard (No Business NBLP 64) I KNOW. Before I did not. He plays all manner of winds on the album and plays them well. But most strikingly he is an avant jazz composer of talent. The music is post-Weill, post-Carla-Bley, if you want some forebears. There is the slightest hint of the hoary cabaret or old march music in there faintly, yet there is so much more, and it is quite modern. Blocks of structure vary and repeat but not typically minimalistically.

He's put together a quartet pretty ideal for the music he writes. These are players who can work inside structures (as they do in their own music) and when called upon to solo reflect freedom-in-structure. It's the wonderful Myra Melford on piano, Darren Johnston on trumpet, and Matt Wilson on drums, all composers in their own right, master instrumentalists, and for lack of a better term, structuralists in the Lugerner manner.

The music has plenty of rhythmic and harmonic twists and turns of an original sort. It's highly arranged quartet music, and in that it also reminds favorably of Jimmy Giuffre's early work, not as especially an influence, but a sharer in essence.

The time limits of the LP translates into very compact and meaningful programming. There isn't a moment that doesn't count.

Beyond that I give this one lots of kudos. Seriously well crafted, excellently refreshing quartet music! Lugerner is a name to remember. Get the album.

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