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Elias Stemeseder / Devin Gray / Anna Webber: Jagged Spheres (2014)

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Elias Stemeseder / Devin Gray / Anna Webber: Jagged Spheres How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

The collective trio of Elias Stemeseder, Devin Gray
Devin Gray
Devin Gray
b.1983
drums
, and Anna Webber
Anna Webber
Anna Webber
b.1984
sax, tenor
ask you to separate the composed elements from the improvised on their debut release Jagged Spheres. The three soon-to-breakout players opt for a musical salmagundi here, filling their plates with minimalist improvisation, noisy thrashings, and organically grown interactions in this chamber jazz presentation.

The Austrian pianist Stemeseder has been featured in drummer Jim Black
Jim Black
Jim Black

drums
's trio and can be heard on his Somatic (Winter&Winter, 2012). He can also be heard on the critically acclaimed Percussive Mechanics (Pirouet, 2013) by Webber. Her saxophone and flute work lives in the gray area between jazz, contemporary composed and free music. The third member, drummer Devin Gray, is an expressive, lyrical player, not unlike Gerald Cleaver and Tom Rainey
Tom Rainey
Tom Rainey
b.1957
drums
. His featured recording Dirigo Rataplan (Skirl Records, 2012) with Ellery Eskelin
Ellery Eskelin
Ellery Eskelin
b.1959
saxophone
, Dave Ballou
Dave Ballou
Dave Ballou

trumpet
, and Michael Formanek
Michael Formanek
Michael Formanek
b.1958
bass
is a mini- masterpiece.

This self-released recording opens with "Jaggedsphere," a quiet, minimalist improvisation. The three proceed in a subdued way, Gray with mallets, Stemeseder's piano notes squeezing out a half-life of echo and Webber's saxophone that is more breath than notes. Soon they shift gears into "For Erik," a full-throated plunge into stabbing chords and thunderous drums. The piece by Webber, reminiscent of drummer John Hollenbeck
John Hollenbeck
John Hollenbeck
b.1968
drums
's work, threatens to collapse only to resolve itself with a structural logic.

The band often zigs when you might expect a zag here. Stemeseder's pieces "Health Bars" and "Nineeight" are more composed and structured, in that they are tied to a balanced and proportional arc. The one composition here by Gray, "Getting Hit Off My Bike, By A Nice Cab Driver At 3:33am In Williamsburg," is a short-story musical adventure. Clocking in at over 20 minutes, the piece plays like a soundtrack to a film about, well, the pain of a bicycle accident.

Track Listing: Jaggersphere; For Erik; Health Bars; Tow And A Half; Getting Hit Off My Bike, By A Nice Cab Driver At 3:33am In Williamsburg; Two; Nineeight.

Personnel: Elias Stemeseder: piano; Devin Gray: drums, melodica; Anna Webber: flute, tenor saxophone.

Record Label: Self Produced


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