Friday, March 3, 2017

Patrick Shiroishi's Black Sun Sutra, Anfinsen's Landmark

What may come into your life as an obscurity sometimes establishes itself as a familiar in short order. That's true of Patrick Shiroishi's Black Sun Sutra and their EP album Anfinsen's Landmark (Creative Sources CS 363). 

What I especially like about this free-avant quintet is how they set up a compositional matrix around which their free jazz spins. Patrick Shiroishi and Robert Magill form a two-horn reed section on baritone-alto and tenor. respectively. They establish a mood with a sort of repeating dirge at the beginning of the album that then explodes into frenetic freedom. Noah Guevara's guitar ripens the group sound with post-Sharrockian shreds and jabs. The rhythm team of Ken Moore on double bass and Sergio Sanchez on drums catapult the band outwards, but also give a jazz-rock-free underpinning to "Athialowi."

There is rawness and power to this band, along with an effective collective frontline in the two-horn-and-guitar open-endedness. It is the opposite of slick and as such reminds me of earlier free dates that did not establish themselves as product. The same surely is true of this set (and of course there are others out there today who bypass the merely sale-able and go for some kind of essence).

But this quintet has a disarming unpretentiousness about it that speaks to me directly. It could have been a BYG record, but of course it is not and most naturally has a present-ness that goes beyond.

The drummer has a few moments to bash wildly and well. Again, you do not hear that so often these days.

The program ends with an interesting unaccompanied alto sojourn from Shiroishi. More? 

This may not always show an extraordinary technical prowess-polish as a whole so much as a good feel and a "to hell with it we're going to pound and cajole ourselves to outer space" freshness.

What will they do for an encore? We'll see, but in the meantime I am caught off-guard and find myself liking it almost in spite of myself. Honest and out.

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