Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Kelsey/Porter Duo, Plays Ornette Vol. 1, Free

I know the artistry of alto saxist Chris Kelsey well enough these days to expect something very worthwhile with anything he puts out. Pianist Lewis Porter I am not as familiar with. It turns out that their first volume of duets of the music of Ornette Coleman, Free, Kelsey/Porter Duo Plays Ornette, Vol. 1 (Tzazz Krytyk) is something excellent to hear.

They tackle some of Ornette's lesser-known numbers, like "Harlem's Manhattan" and "Check Out Time." The recent loss of the jazz titan makes this release timely, though they had been rehearsing and working over the numbers on the album long before the sad news reached us all.

It is a tribute in a way Ornette would have liked best. They do not try and copy his style so much as find their own way through his music. And they do it well. Chris is burning in a sort of post-Braxtionian manner, with soulfire and illuminating soundings of the possibilities available to him as his own stylist. Lewis Porter surprises continually with free-wheeling ideas and clusters of expression that fit completely with what Chris is doing yet in no way go in expected, predictable zones.

The two have developed a very tangible chemistry that results in some fine music. Both take note of what the other is doing while creating two-way improvisations that are much more than the sum of parts.

The music triumphs as excellent examples of both artists today, as a duo of true bipartite organicism, and as a glowing tribute to the master, Ornette Coleman.

Great sounds! Do not miss!

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