George Haslam: 2002 003 04 and Cool Moon
George Haslam's FreeTime
Brit George Haslam formed his FreeTime Quartet in 2002 and, with the assistance of a Czech National Radio person and a noted jazz club owner, has toured regularly across the Czech Republic and occasionally beyond. Milos Latislav, the radio man, named the band to reflect its open and freely based improvisation over positive rhythms and this recording is a document of the band - Haslam on baritone sax and tarogato, Swetja on guitars, fujara (a European overtone flute) and Petr Zimak on drums - playing live with guest stars from a number of countries (Mexico, England, etc.).
"Alternative Prelude , the album's opener, sets the tone for what's to come. Over a sort of drone, Haslam floats spaciously and soulfully on tarogato, a Hungarian single-reed instrument. Haslam suggests the freedom of the avant-garde jazzers but often moves into the realm of folk-based music including, even, the blues. Many of the tunes are short simply displaying a flash of a mood, but the spirit of this truly open- hearted musician shines through.
The Anglo-Kuopio Quartet's Cool Moon finds Haslam and fellow Brit Paul Hession playing live in Kuopio, Finland. The quartet is rounded out by Finnish musicians - the brilliant and adventurous Mikko Pasanen (piano) and Jarmo Hiekkala (bass). Though this is a more standard quartet sound, the music is otherworldly, group improvisations that paint pictures of the moon in "all its splendor - cool, restless, whispering, white and hanging over this place in Finland. These are extended workouts with all four of the players given the opportunity to shine as individualists and in the context of a group. From the first notes of the first track "Kuopio Moon , it's clear that while these are accomplished musicians what they are about here is being together and creating sound environments. These players play off of each other's lines and phrases and though the music is free it's never chaotic (or if it is it somehow sounds like there's method to the chaos).
Tracks and Personnel
2002 003 04
Tracks: Alternative Prelude; Hupky Dupky; First Bass; Muffs; Wails from the Crypt; Sagem Blues; Mark's Mode; Second Bass; Trust Nature; Relaxing in Pardubice; Sweets; Farewell Prague.
Personnel: George Haslam: baritone sax, tarogato; Swetja: guitars, fujara, saw; Jozef Laska: contrabass; Petr Zimak: drums.
Tracks: Kuopio Moon; Cool Moon; Restless Moon; Whispering Moon; White Moon.
Personnel: George Haslam: baritone sax, tarogato; Mikko Pasanen: piano; Jarmo Hiekkala: double bass; Paul Hession: drum set.