Thursday, June 16, 2022

Precipitation of A Decision, The Ride on the 8 of Infinity, Paul Hartsaw, Damon Smith, Jerome Bryerton


There is something about music that is as good as one hoped it would be. It is reassuring? Consoling? There is also something interesting about how Free Improvisation can come to transcend the idea of the totally spontaneous when you hear it a fair number of times and it starts to make a meta-sense to you--in other words you understand it as a kind of deliberate form even though it is "off the cuff." I must report in, gladly,  that the album at hand today gives me both satisfactions. 

Precipitation of a Decision, The Ride on the 8 of Infinity (Balance Point Acoustics BPA 2CD3)  combines pn two CDs a 2008 session (Ride) with one from 2021 (Precipitation). Ride features Paul Hartsaw on soprano and tenor sax and Damon Smith on contrabass. Precipitation has Hartsaw on tenor only along with Damon Smith on contrabass and Jerome Bryerton on drums.

Both Paul Hartsaw and Damon Smith are artists I have been hearing and appreciating for some time. (Look up both in the search indexes both here and on the Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Blog for earlier reviews of albums by both artists.)

The trio album is especially invigorating, with wonderful three-way interfaces of dynamic freedom. The duo disk has especially intimate dialogues, not as full-out blowing energy exactly,  but then really quite subtle and absorbing in a slightly more esoteric way. Drummer Bryerton sounds lucid and open in the trio session. And the three get more dynamic and energetic at times.

It is all told some of the finest free jazz albums of the year thus far. It is after a few listens centered on the world that the players occupy and respond to, it goes perhaps without saying. But of course it is not THAT they respond so much as HOW they respond, that makes this special.

This one will certainly appeal to the Free Improvisation aficionados out there, as it is a specially fine example. It might also serve to introduce nicely those not familiar with the genre. Bravo!

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