by saxophonist Bruce Freedman’s trio reminds one of the revolutionary sounds made by Ornette Coleman, circa 1960. Unlike Coleman, Freedman has no motive for anarchy and certainly in the 21st century, where nothing’s shocking, I cannot claim to have been shocked by this recording. But listeners familiar with the revolution of jazz sounds certainly will appreciate this trio’s approach.
Freedman, a Vancouver native, has been playing jazz for nearly twenty years, recording with the Barry Guy, George Lewis, Rene Lussier, Paul Plimley, and Gregg Bendian. His approach to composition and playing incorporates the techniques of more outward free jazz players like Evan Parker, Mats Gustafsson and Sam Rivers into tighter, more accessible formations. Like a storyteller, he holds your attention by returning to themes and patterns within a song. At the start of “The Demon Preaches Back,” be begins with a statement that gets repeated, mantra like, through a chase and flurry of energy. Likewise the title tracks, part one and two, that bookend this recording repeat a slow figure that is ripe for group improvisation. With Freedman on soprano saxophone, “Oasis” draws a straight line back to the theories and music of John Coltrane and his almost infinite permutations for improvisational patterns. His working trio plays off this freedom/composed approach, responding with their own improvisations yet strictly adhering to the framework of each song. In other words, they take their listeners to the precipice of deconstruction but never fall into the abyss.
Fortunately Bruce Freedman and company play this music with very little risk that like Ornette Coleman, crowds will destroy his horn and chase them out of town. He does though play jazz music like there is no more important mission in this world. Highly recommended. Contact Bruce Freedman at www.vancouverjazz.com/freedman