Assif Tsahar & the Brass Reeds Ensemble: The Hollow World
Rather than sounding weighty and portentous the group’s fluidity is refreshing, especially considering the tonal breadth and scope between instruments. Tsahar’s architectures encompass plenty of space for everyone to negotiate and on each of the pieces there’s an arresting equilibrium between free improvisation and structured ensemble interplay. Especially intriguing are the presence of Daley’s tuba and Chancey’s French horn in the instrumental palette of the group. These deeper brass instruments more than compensate for the absence of a bass presence and Tsahar makes ample use of their lower register sonorities to round out the octet’s bottom end. Jonas is similarly effective fulfilling the groups higher register needs through his nimbly conceived soprano lines.
Tsahar’s charts frequently open up the floor for generous solo statements from each of the players though some of the most interesting passages occur during his fertile pairings of instruments. Witness the volatile duet section he shares with Brown on the opening “Tapestry of Dreams” to get a taste for what I’m talking about. Conversations between Brown and Daley, and Chancey and Vu on the proceeding “Edge of Infinity” are of equally high complexity and emotion. No one is ever relegated to the sidelines for too long. The tunes themselves run a broad gamut from the opening “Tapestry of Dreams” built around a propulsive theme statement by the horns and Ibarra’s rolling, march-like cadences, to the bluesy horn polyphony and Mingusisms of “Rainbow at My Table,” dedicated to William Parker. Minor discrepancies surface in the sequencing of the tune lengths on the sleeve notes, but this is merely of peripheral concern and what matters most is the music itself. Overall this disc preserves an intensely invigorating performance, beautifully rendered and thoughtfully recorded. For Tsahar and his colleagues obscurity is not an option.
Track Listing: Tapestry of Dreams/ The Edge of Infinity/ Rainbow on My Table/ The Hollow World/ The Luminous Tree.
Recorded: March 30, 1999, Roulette, NYC, New York.
Personnel: Assif Tsahar- tenor saxophone; Herb Robertson- trumpet; Cuong Vu- trumpet; Vincent Chancey- french horn; Joe Daley- tuba; Chris Jonas- soprano saxophone; Rob Brown- alto saxophone; Susie Ibarra- drums.
Record Label: Hopscotch Records
Style: Modern Jazz