The Young Mothers: A Mothers Work Is Never Done (2014)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten reminds us that jazz is the musical equivalent of a dark star, a musical black hole, absorbing all musical energy and classifications. The Norwegian-born bassist-turned Austin, TX resident assembled a multi-genre sextet under the uncategorizable name The Young Mothers. Sure, let's not call this jazz, because it would alienate 99% of fans. But jazz, in truth, it is.
The bassist has a taste for the extreme reaches of jazz. As a member of the Scandinavian power trio, The Thing with saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, he explores a garage band version of punk/jazz. He is also a mover in the bands Atomic and Circulasione Totale Orchestra. TYM is built with Chicago drummer Frank Rosaly a fellow member in The Rempis Percussion Quartet, Raoul Björkenheim's Scorch Trio, and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten Chicago Sextet, plus Stefan Gonzalez (Son of the legend Dennis Gonzalez, saxophonist Jason Jackson, guitarist Jonathan F. Horne, and trumpeter/rapper Jawwaad Taylor.
With a few guest musicians, TYM mash hip-hop into indie rock via a free jazz interface that excels on multiple levels. Genre classification, though is not one of them. Opening with the sly funk hip-hop of "The 'Wood," Taylor's vocals dip into the old-school rap of Big Daddy Kane and new jack swing, sung over the searing saxophone of Jackson and the acoustic rhythms supplied by Flaten and Rosaly. This music delivers on the promise first conceived by Keith Elam's Jazzmatazz and Branford Marsalis' Buckshot LeFonque. The key is that TYM don't file down the rough edges, they amplify them. "Wells, The Original" breakfasts on a rocked-out theme before delving into the blackest of metal and the angriest of saxophone screeches. "Ruth," a take on African music, complete with kalimba, charges into the hardcore world of Tom Morello's Street Sweeper Social Club,
The exploratory improvisation of "Vigoran Ways" is fueled by Flaten's double bass, the twinkling of Gonzalez' vibraphone, and Rosaly's cymbal work, to surf the asteroid belts of Sun Ra that Rob Mazurek favors these days, and the "Theme From Fanny and Alexander" is a contemplative tribute to the Ingmar Bergman film. The highlight here might be "Molé" with guests saxophonist Mars Williams and pedal steel guitarist Bob Hoffnar. The wick lit by the throbbing bass and urgency of the danceable music combine to create a repository for an entire musical menagerie.
Track Listing: The ‘Wood; Molé; Theme From Fanny & Alexander; Wells, The Original; Virogan Ways; Ruth.
Personnel: Jason Jackson: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone; Jawwaad Taylot:
vocals, trumpet, electronics, drum programming; Jonathan F. Horne: guitar; Stefan
Gonzalez: vibraphone, drums, vocals; Ingebrigt Håker Flaten: acoustic bass, electric bass,
electronics; Frank Rosaly: drums, percussion; Mars Williams: soprano saxophone (2); Bob
Hoffnar: pedal steel guitar (2); Ralph White: kalimba (6); Carl Smith: tenor saxophone (6);
Alex Heitlinger: trombone (6); John Elliot: tuba (6).
Record Label: Tektite Records