Skull Session: Rise Above (2004)
"Roshamatod" opens the set with the kind of tumultuous chaos that one might expect from someone with Platz's history. Platz has clearly been influenced by guitarists including Derek Bailey and, not surprisingly, Joe Morris himself, with a surprisingly clean tone that nevertheless draws many sharp edges with its off-kilter approach. And his rock roots are never that far away, as evidenced on the closer, "Rind," which, with its faux-tango rhythm, finds Platz showing some blues roots even as he solos with a more unconstrained melodic sense.
Platz's compositions provide the barest starting points for the group. "Ochre Moon" is nothing more than a simple rubato phrase that percolates over the restrained maelstrom of Gray and Morris. "Genius Syndrome" is an African-informed 6/8 bass figure with a simple guitar/sax motif that sets the stage for a strong and impulsive solo from Shanko. "Downward Chop" is another 6/8 figure, this time with hints of John Zorn's Masada in its slight Middle Eastern inflection.
If punk is an attitude, so, too, is free playing. Both are organic and immediate, with a lack of inhibition. There is certainly nothing impressionistic about either form; everything is completely clear and no doubts exist. But with the broader rhythmic and harmonic possibilities in free jazz, it is possible to explore a wider range of expression; and Rise Above , aptly titled in its ability to transcend simple suggestion into a place where improvisation defines deeper feeling, clearly succeeds in conveying where this ensemble was at a particular moment in time.
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Track Listing: Rashamatod; Ochre Moon; Genius Syndrome; Downward Chop; You in Mind; Open; Rind
Personnel: Jeff Platz (guitar), Timo Shanko (tenor saxophone), Scott Getchell (trumpets), Luther Gray (drums, percussion), Joe Morris (acoustic bass)
Record Label: Skycap Records
Style: Modern Jazz