215

Charlie Kohlhase's Explorer's Club: Adventures

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Charlie Kohlhase's Explorer's Club: Adventures A longstanding veteran of the Boston jazz scene, multi-instrumentalist Charlie Kohlhase's skills as a bandleader were honed as a member of the esteemed Either/Orchestra and through collaborations with legendary saxophonist John Tchicai. The Explorer's Club is his newest venture, a powerhouse line-up featuring two drummers. Encompassing a range of dynamics, from AACM styled impressionism and Mingus-inspired collective interplay to riotous New Thing-era free expression, the septet exudes a mercurial sensibility redolent of Kohlhase's former teacher, trombonist Roswell Rudd.

A versatile and inventive writer, Kohlhase pens intricate charts, balancing the rich multi-layered voicings of a large ensemble with the nimble dexterity of a small combo. Maximizing the ensemble's raw sonic potential, his clever arrangements veer from the thorny contrapuntal fantasy of "Superhero Beatdown" to the ornate unison lines of "Utensor."

Embracing the collective aesthetic of the AACM, Kohlhase seeds his pieces with tumultuous group improvisation, rapid fire call and response dialogues, spacious cadenzas and other conversational strategies. Instilling a communal sensibility into the group's free ranging excursions, he allots his sidemen ample solo time, revealing his own visceral approach on such fare as "Thryllkyll On The Schyllkyll/Psychopath On The Cyclepath," sputtering bristling baritone cadences over roiling percussion.

Adventures, their Boxholder debut, contains a number of titles inspired by Kohlhase's comical superheroes, such as Loquator, Taciturnator and Utensor. One such entry in his 'superhero' series, the boppish "Loquator & Taciturnator," portrays a conflict between the verbose Loquator and the brusque Taciturnator. A rousing variation on the classic notion of trading fours, the brisk tune stages an extended string of effusive cadences against spare retorts from a rotating cast of soloists.

Equally inspired, the shadowy tone poem "The Alarm Clock Is My Only Kryptonite" features texturally unique duets; Kohlhase's water bottle muted baritone rails opposite Eric Hofbauer's spindly electric guitar; Matt Langley's ghostly tenor spars with Jef Charland's sinewy bass; and Jeff Galindo's plunger-muted trombone cajoles Chris Punis' spare trap set.

Kohlhase's magnanimous spirit extends to authorship as well. Charland's tender ballad, "Kohlhase And Forever" is the album's most tranquil departure, while "Stealing Beauty/Potuder Time" and "Decide For Yourself" were written by Kohlhase's venerable associate John Tchicai. The latter tune spotlights drummers Miki Matsuki and Chris Punis, as they stretch out supported by driving vamps from the riffing horn section and strings.

Dedicated to a real 'superhero,' "The Star Of The Show" closes the album with a funky homage to James Brown. Kohlhase and Langley's unaccompanied, elliptical tenor banter opens the piece, followed by a vibrant, serpentine solo from Hofbauer, with the whole septet reconvening at the coda for an exuberant finale.

A bracing and bold album, Adventures is an appropriately titled debut for Kohlhase's newest ensemble.

Track Listing: Jasper Jaguar/Deceptor; Kohlhase And Forever; Loquator & Taciturnator; The Alarm Clock Is My Only Kryptonite; Steaming Beauty/Potuder Time; Thryllkyll On The Schyllkyll/Psychopath On The Cyclepath; Decide For Yourself; Superhero Beatdown; Utensor; The Star Of The Show.

Personnel: Charlie Kohlhase: alto, tenor and baritone saxophones; Jeff Galindo: trombone, mutes; Matt Langley: soprano and tenor saxophones; Eric Hofbauer: guitar; Jef Charland: bass; Miki Matsuki: drums; Chris Punis: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Boxholder Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Right Up On CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Wanderlust CD/LP/Track Review Wanderlust
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Imagination CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Evolution CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read On A Monday Evening CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Momentum" CD/LP/Track Review Momentum
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works" CD/LP/Track Review Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "The Behemoth" CD/LP/Track Review The Behemoth
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Chamber Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Chamber Jazz
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Pittsburgh" CD/LP/Track Review Pittsburgh
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 23, 2016
Read "American Tunes" CD/LP/Track Review American Tunes
by Mike Jacobs
Published: June 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!