John O'Gallagher: Rules of Invisibility Volume 2 (2005)
And this is all good, don't get me wrong. The rawness of these recordings is definitely appreciated, but the demand to "treat the recordings as your private concert"? is a bit much. The beauty of experiencing music live is the excitement and fear of not knowing what could happen. On record though, I myself would prefer to hear perfection in all its possible forms. Not that Rules of Invisibility Volume 2 is laden with mistakesthese are three talented improvisers. But often the lower bass notes literally get lost in the mix and, conversely, when Rosen elects to pound away, the kick drum and cymbal crashes can be overbearingall problems that would have been easily fixed with post-production leveling.
After the inviting opening notes of "Bouncin Billie"? comes the much longer second tune, "Later, Bird,"? a swinging number that features great lyrical work from O'Gallagher. "Don't Move"? is much slower, sans swing, with great Rashied Ali-like pecking from Rosen. O'Gallagher plays wonderfully on the more difficult soprano sax on "Premonition,"? wailing in conjunction with Rosen's furious, brink-of-disaster drum work. On "Olo,"? O'Gallagher stands alone, sounding like a sorrowful sax man singing under the bridge '" beautiful stuff from the unheralded bandleader.
This is when the band is at its best, on "Olo"? as again on "Post Adriatic Sea"? and elsewhere on this recordspacious and slower numbers that allow each individual to express himself without confines, confident that no member will stretch beyond the capabilities of his playmates. It's amazing to think that such amazingly interactive, expressive and communicative playing could come out of a session where, producer Bob Rusch admits, there was little if any eye contact between the musicians.
The trio setting is by far the most exciting arrangement for truly inspiring avant-garde or free jazz music. The level of communication between the players is so intimatesomething that the larger ensembles of William Parker or the Art Ensemble of Chicago, or even Coltrane's larger groups with Ali and Elvin Jones and Pharoah Sanders can't touch. According to the producer's notes, the trio worked off sketches and ideas, with no written music, and this is obvious throughout the record. In a lot of ways it seems similar to Ornette Coleman's At the Golden Circle recordings (Blue Note, 1965) or, in a strange way, Charles Gayle, William Parker and Rashied Ali's astounding Touchin' on Trane (FMP, 1993).
Track Listing: 1. Bouncin Billie - take one 2. Later, Bird 3. Don't Move 4. Borneo 5. Olo's 6. Together 7. Post-Adriatic Sea 8. Premonition 9. Bouncin Billie - take two
Personnel: John O'Gallagher: alto and soprano saxophones; Masa Kamaguchi: bass; Jay Rosen: drums.
Record Label: CIMP Records
Style: Fringes of Jazz