George Cartwright: Black Ants Crawling (2003)
Deep, husky, sonic vapors rise from the tenor of George Cartwright as he connects with bassist Adam Linz and drummer Alden Ikeda for an extended romp into the unbridled world of free improvisation. Cartwright suggests the strange presence of warmth through his full and robust tonality; he lassoes a surging bull and purposefully proceeds to lay down an ultra-plush carpet of sound having a meaty core; yet, his fiery expulsions project the semblance of melodiousness devoid of cacophony often heard from liberated saxophone players.
This phenomenon in Cartwright’s approach sets his solos apart. He flies with the wind using surging muscular propulsion to capture and communicate his thoughts; yet the logical flow of his phrasing makes the message fully coherent. He can make his horn whisper with throaty sensitivity as he transforms the open forum with near-ballad artistry, or he can shout boisterously and crank it up several notches without losing the link to the listener.
The depth of Linz’s bass playing matches the earthiness of Cartwright’s blowing. Linz gingerly executes in slow tempo to underpin Cartwright’s freelancing before he cranks up the bass action with fast-paced maneuvers. Cartwright goes off on one tangent, and Linz steers in a totally different direction at a contrasting pace, yet the two sounds meld precisely as a combined force
Ikeda sprawls all over the canvas with power-laden rhythms to form a launching pad for the tenor player. He moves stride for stride with Cartwright, punching hearty beats here or splashing vibrant cymbal crashes there while keeping the breadbasket of sound voluminously full. His drumming tends to emphasize a tonal range higher than either Cartwright or Linz cohabitate, which neatly balances the aural spectrum.
From moody terseness to flamboyant excitement, the trio plows onward as staunch workhorses. The program combines great strength with a gentle-giant persona that precludes it from being intimidating. The trio builds a foundation of weighty consistency with their massive attack, yielding music with granite properties to withstand all the elements of nature.
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Track Listing: Christmas (11:50) / Yellow Robot (9:34) / God Has Smiled on Me (5:59) / Fishy Story-For Django- Saturday Night What Th
Personnel: George Cartwright-tenor saxophone; Adam Linz-bass; Alden Ikeda-drums. Recorded: Minneapolis, MN.