Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Vijay Anderson's Silverscreen Sextet, Live at the Angel City Jazz Festival


Drummer-composer-bandleader Vijay Anderson has over the years established himself as a New Jazz presence with such luminaries as Adam Lane, Vinny Golia, Lisa Mezzacappa, Marco Eneidi and many others. He established himself as a major creative force in the Bay Area and more recently has been based in New York.

His Silverscreen Sextet started up in 2017 as a significant cohesion of LA-based and Northern Californians, known and lesser known improv talents. They happily were well recorded in an especially proto-charged gig in 2018, namely on the recent CD Live at the Angel City Jazz Festival in 2018 (self published).

The sextet rollicks through six nicely turned Anderson compositions and one number that is an entirely free collective improv. The band stands out as a very congenial gathering. There of course is Vijay on drums, a smartly soulful presence that swings like mad and presses the sextet ever onward both freely and in structured ways. His main solo on the disk is a post Eddie Blackwell octopus of polyrhythmically thrusting drum orchestration. And it is not that there is a Blackwell imitation so much as they share a propulsive essence and musically noteful sonance. The beautifully alive, barbeque strutting Bobby Bradford is just right. In part due to him and as whole regardless the music if you listen carefully shows some deep roots in the John Carter-Ornette Coleman nexus. That of course is a very good thing.

The rest of the horns each add a distinctive set of personal qualities to the mix, most nicely familiar with Vinnie Golia's b-flat clarinet, his g mezzo soprano and his baritone sax. He sounds as articulate and engaged as one would hope, a key member of the ensemble as he so often is when called upon.

Not as well known to many of us but nevertheless significant are the other two horns, that is Hafez Modirzadeh on alto and tenor and William Roper on tuba and a couple of archaic horns. Both players add an original voice and made the four-person front line a thing of distinction.

Finally there is the very busy and expressive Robert Miranda on bass, who meshes with Vijay for dependable anchorage in the best ways throughout.

The compositions  are edgy and current, the solo space varied and communicative. The pre-planned structures can veer to the bluesy or to advanced outness, giving the sextet a sense of purpose and directional impetus and a rootedness as well as an immediacy for our present-day and the sound of how it feels.

In the end we have a very nice blowing date that has pacing and outstanding compositional touches. It is a worthy listen that captures the very moment of the now of New Jazz. It is a nicely singular feather in the Vijay Anderson cap but also a step forward in free-swinging free-currency. Highly recommended.

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