How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
"Notice something other than the 'expected' other: a question not marked as such..."
So advises Daniel Carter on this, the first full-length recording of his multi-instrumental self with the Boston-based Saturnalia String Trio. Unlike many collective improvisation projects, Meditations on Unity thrives on the space between the notes, and the limitless harmonic possibilities of overtones. Jonathan LaMaster's Saturnalia explores the darkness of sound, the shady boundaries between modern classical and freely improvised music.
New York's Carter adds a pinch of brightness, a smatter of unpredictability, and his usual angular harmonic vision. Surprisingly, although the tunes on this record were recorded at eight different locations (both live and in the studio), they maintain a coherent sense of continuity regardless. To these ears, the combination of strings and horn presents a satisfying alternative to the usual horns-bass-drums combination found in free improvisation. Though somewhat underdocumented at this point, the Saturnalia String Trio plays with the confidence and synergy of any mature free jazz group. Hopefully we'll have a chance to hear more music from them, as well as projects along the lines of this Boston-New York collaboration.
Track Listing: What Kind of Jazz?; 3 for One; Aspirations; Repose; Spontaneous Contagion; Reverie; Ekstasis; 3 for Two;
Release; 3 for All; Juggernaut; Visions of Unity.
Personnel: Jonathan LaMaster: violin, electronics; Vic Rawlings: prepared cello, sarangi, and electronics; Mike Bullock: bass; Daniel Carter: saxophones, clarinet, flute, and trumpet; Matthew Heyner: bass.