Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mikolaj Trzaska, Devin Hoff, Michael Zerang, Sleepless in Chicago

On the jazz front with these blogs I get exposed and in turn expose you to a fair number of names you may not know well. In the free-avant realm that has something to do with the underground nature of much of the music. I am glad to hear the music a great deal of the time--and pass along the news when something seems worthwhile to me.

In the instance of Sleepless in Chicago (No Business NBLP 70) we have another in the admirable series of small-quantity release LPs No Business devotes to artists of merit who for whatever reason are not expected to win a gold record in the near future.

In this case we have the trio of Mikolaj Trzaska on alto sax, Devin Hoff on double bass, and Michael Zerang on drums blowing free and fruitfully on two long cuts recorded in 2011 and 2012 live in Chicago.

Trzaska is a dynamic firestorm with no shortage of inspiration here. His is a wind that blows without end, in the best sense. I won't say he sounds like x, y or z because he does not. He's got the wail, the jazz delivery and the endless stream of ideas--all that is a gas to hear.

His compadres in avant outness are where they need to be to make this work. Devin Hoff gives Trzaska a notefull backdrop that's harmonically open and dynamic. Michael Zerang has everything from a maelstrom to a light spring breeze to contribute--depending upon the moment.

Open form free jazz, to say the very least, has often a total dependence upon the moment and what gets constructed in it to succeed. Sure, there are players who can and do get by in moments where the spirit may flag by relying on various devices--and the more original and interesting the devices the less the flagging moment actually flags. Sleepless in Chicago never seems to enter those pockets where one goes to the pre-disposed. And that's because Trzaska never runs short of expression and his bandmates seem continually to inspire and cajole him to keep going with his explorations into space.

And that's probably one of the highest complements one can pay a free improviser--that his cup virtually never stops runnething over. Not here. Especially not in the first half. There are only 300 copies of this album pressed. I won't say "run to your nearest record store" because...there may not be one around you anymore. (Though Record Store Day is coming up and you should patronize!) Still, this is one to have. Seriously. If you are into the muse, the improvised news, that has no words, that warbles like the birds! Spring ahead for this one!

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