Thursday, May 11, 2017

Frantz Loriot, Manuel Perovic, Notebook Large Ensemble, Urban Furrow

The idea of "never too late" fills my head as I jump in to cover something that may have come out in 2015 yet remains a vital offering for big band avant-free jazz improv-composition today. It is violist-composer Frantz Loriot and composer-arranger-conductor Manuel Perovic heading the Notebook Large Ensemble on the album Urban Furrow (Clean Feed 338).

All compositions are by Loriot, except the brief "To HR," which is co-composed by Loriot and Perovic. There are nine musicians involved in the band, an international intersection of worthy players: Loriot's viola of course, plus two reed players, trumpet, trombone, electric guitar, cello, doublebass and drums.

A broad wash of collective and individual improvisation moments set off and make alive the compositional elements. From the vamp-like chord progression integral to "West 4th," the abstractions and harmonic underpinnings of "Division," the song form and changes on "To HR," and so forth all the way through the album's sequence, there is a close fit between the writing and the improvisational spirit that brings the music to life.

And in the process free improv and compositional structures blend together to create a music than is more "both-and" than it is "either-or."

The result is a music that is neither strictly avant garde nor is it mainstream. It has an outness to it that brings foundational elements into play that the uninitiated listener might hang her or his ears onto to guide the experience and make it more readily accessible than a strictly avant journey would.

What matters is that the music hangs together as a whole, that all elements work together to create an interesting and satisfying musical experience. There is plenty here to dig into.

And I recommend you do that!

No comments:

Post a Comment