How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Alto saxophonist Jonathon Haffner's band on Life on Wednesday puts up a united front, sounding as integrated as the internal workings of a utilitarian, high horsepower industrial machine. But that machine has some grit in its innards on the set's opener, "Time Time," with a rasp of Wayne Krantz
Indeed, the hard metal, industrial tinge continues on "Radio One" and its raw, file-on-stainless-steel feeling, with injections of emery paper,-in-the-gear-cog electronics crescendoing into what sounds like a light bulb filament humming three seconds from its mini-nova death.
The searing one-two punch of this pair of tunes opening Haffner's discproduced by David Binney
, and that's surely a factor in this sound's successgets up and in-your-face with fine, chip-on-the-shoulder ferocity. "New Mexico" takes the music on a tender turn on a plaintive ballad. Krantz' s solo starts out folksy, in Bill Frisell
on one of his wilder nights. "Formigas," at nearly eleven minutes the longest piece of the set, crunches with subtle metal-on-metal grinda car with worn brake shoesbefore it whirs and hums, like a piece of cheap electronic equipment heating up in the direction of its short-circuiting demise. Haffner blows into the dystopia with a late night, straight-ahead solo that gains momentum and wails toward a frenzy, the ensemble right there with him like a bunch of toughs swinging into a rumble in the alley.
The attention-grabbing Life on Wednesday doesn't pull any punches. It sounds as if it was made with the intention of giving modern jazz a kick in the pants, and it does just that.
Track Listing: Time Time; Radio One; New Mexico; Wester Wren (The Bird Call); Formigas; Big Wheel; Tuesday Night Danny; Freewheel; Wednesday Night Firsts; Maybe Mexico; New Year.