Monday, December 22, 2014

Tineke Postma, Greg Osby, Sonic Halo

Wherever we are in improvised music we are always subject to the mental compass points we oriented ourselves with. Depending on those we could think we are halfway on the way to some goal, or beyond that goal and on the way to another. It depends on how you chose to get your bearings.

Take for example the sort of jazz-rock-funk that Miles had much to do with and then some of the acoustic-progressive furtherings that Steve Coleman and Dave Holland were important exponents of. We could say that now we are at the full flowering of a progressive, free-flowing post-bop rock-funk sound. Or perhaps we have gotten to a halfway point. We don't know what is to come in the years ahead so we cannot be sure of where we are on the "map."

One thing though is this: wherever we are, the album Sonic Halo (Challenge 73370) is in the vanguard. It's a two-horn alto-soprano frontline of Tineke Postma and Greg Osby, with some very excellent sidemen in Matt Mitchell on piano and electric piano, Linda Oh on acoustic bass and Dan Weiss on drums.

Dan can be counted on to contribute nicely to whatever he is on, so that in itself is a staple of this music. Linda and Matt are subtle and very worthy voices here. And then there's the two horn line of Greg and Tineke. These two work hand-in-glove so well that they open up a sort of zone where through alternating compositions and together-blowing they stand out as exceptional.

This is very progressive modal-centered music with sophisticated harmonies, complex rhythmic hits, and an open-sky hipness that gives a basic straight-eight funk an evolution similar in complexity to what later bop did for swing. Endless free flowing variation is the rule here, and it all is handled with inventive, brilliant ease.

And the blowing is very hip indeed. Postma and Osby are perfect foils for each other; the three-rhythm team make sure that the cauldron never stops boiling, so to speak.

It's music that bears your most intensive aural inspection and comes off as breakthrough soundings.

Sonic Halo has wings, has brains, has soul. It is an excellent listen!

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