Monday, May 18, 2020

Adam Rudolph, Ralph M. Jones, Hamid Drake, Imaginary Archipelago, Karuna Trio

Today some freewheeling inventions from the Karuna Trio on their second album together, Imaginary Archipelago (Meta Records 024). The threesome consists of Adam Rudolph and Hamid Drake on drums-percussion and Ralph M. Jones on saxophones and flute. It is the sort of musical set that takes advantage of the studio at times to create a pronounced ambiance with the principal instruments joining forces now and again with vocals, secondary instruments and enhancements, though the latter is utilized as primarily coloration to offset the free-live immediacy with a reflective veneer.

The conceptual premise of the album is that the "three person Research and Development team" discovered an archipelago, 11 aural-sonic islands, each with a distinctive sonic language that nevertheless connect together as a whole. Eleven separate music moments on the album represent each a sonic geographic space. Each articulates freely, generally pulsates in ways that go some distance beyond Don Cherry and Eddie Blackwell's classic 2-album Mu of 1969 yet does in some ways represent an outward extension of that landmark music.

Free and tribal, in other words? Not to put too fine a point on it, but yes. that would be one way to put it. It is music to be experienced as a whole, a sharing of a sonic universe between three musical masters who understand one another perfectly and take the music soaring now, considering now, always going forward in ways that have a spiritual ambiance, a new Space Age attitude that puts the listener on eleven separate but unified paths to a cosmic center.

It is not the sort of music that lends itself to navel-gazing musicology though it may be just the thing for a personal introspection. It is music that sounds well and wears well. It repays the effort you put into listening, which is what we should expect of any new music no doubt. So I do recommend this one. It is very much a now expression and we very much need that now. Listen.

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