Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Pandelis Karayorgis Quintet, Afterimages

If a new Pandelis Karayorgis album comes out (and it has) and I do not cover it more or less right away, it is an oversight. My piles of CDs awaiting review can sometimes get cumbersome, and a spill of the box intended for this particular blog late last year put my hypothetical sequence into permanent chaos.

But anything worth hearing is worth talking about at any time, so today we get to contemplate the Pandelis Karayorgis Quintet and their Afterimage (Driff 1404). The quintet date continues Karayorgis's fertile cross-pollination with some of the heavy Chicago cats on the scene. We get a potent lineup on this one with Dave Rempis and Keefe Jackson on reeds, Nate McBride, bass, and Frank Rosaly on drums. Pandelis directs the proceedings from the piano, while also furnishing ten compositions for the quintet to immerse themselves in and blow off of.

The compositions set up a harmonically advanced, modern post-boppish avant-free landscape that has interest in its structures and gives the players a good bit of latitude. Everyone rises to the occasion, with Rempis, Jackson and Karayorgis quite naturally forming the front line.

I have said often enough here that Karayorgis comes out of Monk more than Cecil or Bley. It's as if the music is an outcrop of what Monk might have done if Monk took his music further out in later years. That is a gross simplification, but the jagged-edged angularity is in Karayorgis's pianism, taken in his own way further afield and originally reworked to become something else.

Rempis sounds great on baritone (an important exponent these days) as well as tenor and alto; Jackson gives us some outstanding tenor and bass clarinet. Together their multisax orientation changes the sound of the group accordingly over time and they put in some excellent work. It is no surprise that McBride and Rosaly really nail down the free and the pulsating in swinging ways.

There is much music to be heard here and it all works. This is another fine out expression from a combo of players who work together with the ease of mutual understanding and compatibility.

Oh, yeah! Do not miss this one.

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