Way up in Corvallis, Oregon, in percussionist Dave Storrs' studio/garage, it's happening; away from the clamor and hubbub of the big city, far removed from the restrictive, profit-minded corporate thinking, a small jazz label is giving birth to unfettered sounds, undiluted, non-pasteurized free jazz, and then some.
Louie Records, Dave Storrs' labor of love
The Rich Halley Trio's latest on Louie. Objects mines the vein of improvisation to form a sort of Northwest Zen-Bop sound, with the leader Halley on tenor and soprano saxophones and wood flute; Clyde Reed doing the bass chores; and Louie boss Dave Storrs' on an array of percussion modes.
Halley's tenor tone is brawny and bold, forthright, Sonny Rollinsesque, and possessed of an occasional ferocity that has a tendency here to taper down into boppish grooves. This is a more fluid and relaxed set than his previous Louie disc, last year's Coyotes in the City , perhaps becuase the guys got together in the garage this time a short twelve hours after playing a paying gig. They apparently got themnselves into a groove that carried over.
They seem, here, like a pinpoint control sinkerball pitcher who needs to weary his arm a touch with a few innings (or, in this case, a couple of forty-five minute sets) to put some surprising loops and swirls into his delivery.
And Dave Storrs: he has an orchestral array of sounds in his percussionist's quiver. A listen-through of Coyotes in the City and Objects back to back suggests an mystical, multi-layered, tintinnabular leap forward in his musical evolution. Sold his soul to the Devil? More likely he experienced a growth spurt in the process of creating his percussion soundscapes disc, Another Thing. He goes glass wind chimes, ice cubes tinkling in a mug, a crystalline waterfall washing over polished rocks weaving in and out of the bass throbs and saxophone groans and growls. Transcendant!
The set is perfectly paced. Halley alternates tenor withs soprano saxophones, and throws into the improvisational mix a slow and reverent version of "Over the Rainbow" that lends a sweet cohesion to the set
An essential disc for fans of free/improvised jazz.
Track Listing: Objects, The Search, Grey Stones, Back in the 400 Club, Over the Rainbow, Thickets/Pavement
Personnel: Rich Halley, tenor, soprano saxes and wood flute; Dave Storrs, percussion, Clyde Reed, bass