Elliott Sharp is one of New York downtown scene's more notorious affiliates, primarily heralded for his avant-garde guitar work, spanning jazz improvisation, jazz-rock, and blues-rock. He's also an accomplished reedman, evidenced on Quintet and previous ventures into the free-jazz space. Sharp once again aligns with like- minded New York-based artists, some of whom are leaders, and busy session artists. Residing within a controlled-chaos type scenario, the soloists engage in some intense duels when all hell breaks loose, but also temper the outlook with edgy, inward-looking minimalism. Sharp's brisk phrasings, tinted with vibrato and popping notes, often instigate the proceedings or generate a loosely based platform for the improvisational component.
Defined on a bustling musical environment, the quintet kicks it into tenth-gear on the scrappy and somewhat voluble "Katabatics." It's an open-forum, where much of the emphasis is placed on the frontlines' interactions and expansions with concise statements and a looping improv motif. They eventually calm the festivities down then assert a bit of fire and brimstone for the finale, as the piece "Qubits," features a motif devised on anguish and discontent atop a swarming pulse.
"Blues For Butch" is a mid-tempo blues inflected jaunt, touched with a smidgeon of expressive balladry. Yet the musicians lean towards an open-ended panorama via vivid extended note phrasings and tumultuous multipart exchanges amid a staggered flow. On the final track "Cherenkov Light (for Lol Cohxill)," Sharp pays reverence to the late British saxophonist Lol Cohxill with a low-key storyline, incited by Nate Wooley's muted trumpet lines and the band's acoustic-instrument treatments that perhaps simulate electronics processing. Otherwise, Sharp's choice of running with pieces clocking in between two and seven-minutes in length helps broaden the program's scope and elevate interest, since each composition offers dissimilar contexts and variable thematic currents.
Track Listing: Magnetar; Katabatics; Arc Of Venus; Anabatics; Qubits; Blues For Butch;
Lacus Temporis; Dissolution; Historical Friction; Laugh Out Loud (for
Lol Coxhill); Cherenkov Light.
Personnel: Nate Wooley: trumpet; Terry L. Green: trombone; Brad Jones: bass; Ches
Smith: drums. E#: tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet.
Why do I love jazz? Well, depending on what you mean by jazz, I can send an answer in any number of directions. Briefly, I was exposed to this crazy music as a little boy, my dad good friends with the local music store, where he bought sheet music to play from his baby grand
Why do I love jazz? Well, depending on what you mean by jazz, I can send an answer in any number of directions. Briefly, I was exposed to this crazy music as a little boy, my dad good friends with the local music store, where he bought sheet music to play from his baby grand. Their massive record collection, my parents taking me to concerts and clubs (only one of five kids to do so), the Magnavox furniture stereo/radio ... it all added up. It was complex, emotional music. And it had rhythm! I drummed and followed the music through the '60s even as I enjoyed the new musics of my generation.
Along with side-trips to other musicians and music, it's been one hell of a pony ride ever since.