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Not a prayer; not a ghost of a chance. That's what Dave Storrs would have if he had to shop his musical art around to the big labels. Percussionist Storrs - and his preferred musicians and instrumental configurations - deal (for the most part) with improvised music, spontaneous composition, and free jazz. The big labels have jettisoned guys like Henry Threadgill and Ornette Coleman. So what's an artist to do? If you're Storrs, you set up a studio in your garage out there in Corvallis, Oregon and gain complete freedom to create your art.
Intention by the Tone Sharks is the latest on Dave Storrs' Louie Records label. The sound is bracing, cool and clean and clear, as if the Sharks are schooling in the deep, dense, steel-blue waters and inexorable currents of the Pacific, not too many miles from Dave's garage.
Intentions is a very contained and disciplined effort from The Tone Sharks. The words "free jazz" and "spontaneous composition" can conjure images of untamed cacophonies, unsynchronized flailings, unpleasant clamor. But The Tone Sharks have evolved in the direction of collective consciousness, with a sound that is both tight and fluid at the same time. The compositions have a free feel and are a bit amorphous - reminiscent of Henry Threadgill's work - and are anchored by the Hundemer/Storrs rhythm section, with a crystalline alto sax/guitar sound weaving around them. No extended solos; a seamless ensemble sound, focused on subtlties and clean clear tones, with a remarkable unity and a Zen-like calm.
For more about Louie Records - and the nuts and bolts and travails of running a small independent label - there is an excellent Dave Storrs artist profile at Louie Records .
Track Listing: First Intention, The School, Buoyancy, Bubbling Up, Flittering Sunfish,
Lurking, Swimming Noses, Skates, Falling Morsels, Unchallenged, On
Personnel: Tom Bergeron, alto sax; Tom McNalley, guitar; Page Hundemer, bass;
Dave Storrs, drums