Carl Maguire: Floriculture (2006)
Here's a downtown jazz quartet that knows the patterns and traditions of the mainstream but has used it to create something quite different. Maguire's compositions are complicated and dense, but not inaccessible. Reflecting grooves, minimalism and a strong sense of melody, this music demands repeated listenings, if only due to the fact that the listener can't quite take it in all at once.
Start immediately with "Egocentric, which, Maguire says, pits a static ostinato against a morphing ostinato. The tension created allows the musicians to work on finding their own places in the spaces that the tune creates. It should be noted here that this band has played these tunes and has had the time and freedom to negotiate their complexities. It's only then, says the composer, that the tunes "really start to sing. These are exceptional players, but each man's every note is at the service of making brilliant, involving music.
Fully reflective of how smart and playful Maguire, the tunes and the band are, "Chamber Social, for example, plays with the notion of the familiar. It's basically a single line that is thrown about by all the musicians, taking on seemingly new colors as each player gets it. It's an energetic workout that seems nutty and fully logical at once. That spirit is at work throughout Floriculture.
Track Listing: Egocentric; Denizen Green - For Mark Dresser; Jilly; Chamber Social; Subsurface; Ermes Marana - After Italo Calvino; The Nord Lord - For Gabriel.
Personnel: Carl Maguire: piano; Chris Mannigan: alto sax; Trevor Dunn: bass; Dan Weiss: drums.