Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Roscoe Mitchell, Sandy Ewen, Damon Smith, Weasel Walter, A Railroad Spike Forms the Voice


Jimmie Lunceford and his band long ago hipped us to the idea that "it ain't what you do it's the way that you do it." This is no more true than in the realm of Free Improvisation / Free Jazz. Nearly everything centers around how freedom transpires, how anything goes does go. I've been happily reminded of this on a new free quartet date entitled A Railroad Spike Forms the Voice (uG EXPLODE uG82 Balance Point AcousticsBPALTD13013). It is a particularly striking four-way venture-adventure.

The quartet grouping on this one turns out to be especially good for creative chemistry. On soprano sax is the always bracing, ever inventive Rosco Mitchell, central initial member of the AACM and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, jazz conceptualist, composer, free improviser of great stature, doing for us his stylistic abstraction thing that he has consistently developed over the years, with a special turning marked especially after mastering circular breathing.

On electric guitar is Sandy Ewen, a very much rising star of free and experimental guitar improvisations, here turning in some especially excellent noise-centered sound-colored expressions.

On acoustic bass is a master of outside bass freedom, magician of extended technique and sound sensibility, as head of Balance Point Acoustics the creator of interesting and challenging free ensemble possibilities and a great player in any right. 

Finally on drums is the very personal stylist of free drumming, a keen eared creator of free-drum outpourings that are often enough neither quite in an abstraction of timekeeping nor in a sort of drum solo mode, but in a kind of third place that greatly helps this quartet defy gravity and go deeply into a cosmic space.

What is remarkable about this music is how specially together and consistently forward moving is this quartet over the continuous 72 minute uninterrupted performance. There are arcs of pointed staccato eruptions rather thrilling to hear coupled with long-toned washes mostly inside the staccato envelopes. Than there are climactic swoops of energy that command your attention in winning ways. It is a stunning example of the art of Free-Modern improvisations by four exceptional exponents in a togetherness that is most rare to hear on this high a level.

Taken altogether this is an exhilarating and exemplary example of open improvisations at this point some sixty-odd years into the history of avant freedom. This has all the markings of a milestone recording of the very contemporary. By all means check it out.

No comments:

Post a Comment