Cold Bleak Heat: Itís Magnificent, But It Isnít War (2005)
Several times while spinning It's Magnificent, But It Isn't War I called for it to end, only to be informed that I hadn't quite had enough yet. And as they say, "That's a good thing.
The energy the members of this quartet put out might someday power a small city, yet their delicate treatment of the bits and pieces here make this a valued recording. Saxophonist Paul Flaherty has found a talented partner in trumpeter Greg Kelley, a master of the introverted slur and the meditative buzz. Flaherty draws Kelley out here, challenging him to flex a bit and match his power. Kelley obliges.
On the 18-minute "Love Conquers All Motherfucker, the band begins with slurred trumpet over saxophone mouthpiece cries and brushwork, before bassist Matt Heyner and drummer Chris Corsano call the meeting to order. The following shower of sounds drains the listener, and I suppose the players also.
But then again Heyner (a member of the street band TEST) and drummer Corsano (a frequent Flaherty coolaborator) are used to these challenges. It's the new approach by Kelley that is the revelation here. His outward playing is quite strong as he stands up to the fire testing of Flaherty. The bass/drum churning of "You Only Live For Infinity finds the rhythm section upping the voltage, causing Flaherty (I think) to holler in the background. It all kind of reminds you of Thelonious Monk stopping to dance a bit while his band plays.
The relentless nature of this quartet's music may have you exhausted by the ending piece, and you might not be able to get through this entire disc in one sitting. But you know from Monty Python's Holy Grail that it is fashionable for one to say, "I'm not quite dead yet. Indeed! These four players let you know jazz hasn't met its end; in fact, it is alive and kicking quite hard.
Track Listing: Never Giveíem What They Want; The Blue Dabs Of Varicose Veins; Bloodshot Blink (Vanquished Teeth); Raising The Dead (Freezer Fight); Love Conquers All Motherfucker; You Only Live For Infinity; Is That All You Git?.
Personnel: Paul Flaherty - Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone; Chris Corsano - Drums; Matt Heyner - Bass; Greg Kelley - Trumpet.
Record Label: Family Vineyard Records
Style: Modern Jazz