Drummer Tomas Fujiwara's The Hook Up features artists who are among the more prominent representatives of new directions in jazz and improvisation. Here, the leader acts as an instigator and propulsive factor via his rhythmically shaped works, comprised of rolling, tumbling and splintered movements, etched with budding thematic developments.
Guitarist Mary Halvorson's distinctive phraseology comes to the forefront amid her liquefying and bent notes, eliciting otherworldly backdrops in parallel with her dynamic soloing sprees with the hornists. The frontline stirs the pot on numerous occasions, contrasted by suspenseful variations and adrenalized free form improv exploits. Moreover, Fujiwara solos and supports the band by generating grooves built on polyrhythmic patterns with lyrical implications.
"Solar Wind" is the lengthiest piece on the album and tenders a prime example of Fujiwara's detail-oriented approach to composition. Hence, the drummer launches the opus with a hodgepodge of rhythmic tone poems. But after a few minutes, saxophonist Brian Settles enters the picture for a frothy duo workout, followed by Michael Formanek's corpulent bass lines and trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson's warm choruses. The music evolves into a bustling pastiche of regal statements, where Halvorson circles the hornists with nimbly executed lines. During the bridge, Formanek's extended and impacting solo introduces a brooding slant as the musicians reconvene and restate the primary theme leading to the coda. As anticipated, the musicians' synergistic output and cunning narratives yield bountiful fruit.
Track Listing: Lastly; The Comb; For Tom and Gerald; Boaster's Roast; Solar Wind; The Hook Up; When.
Personnel: Mary Halvorson: guitar; Michael Formanek: bass; Brian Settles: tenor saxophone & flute; Jonathan Finlayson: trumpet; Tomas Fujiwara: drums.
Rhythm Abstraction: Azure is the first volume of new compositions created as a follow up to 2018’s
release Rhythm Kaleidoscope. As with that release, Brock Avery improvised drum and percussion
solos. Frank Macchia then composed music for woodwinds and orchestra to Brock’s creations. Azure
is the first of three extended play albums of 6-7 compositions which will be released starting in
January and followed up in April and July. In Azure we have a created a group of pieces that continue
our quest for honoring the art of improvisation with a “stream-of-consciousness” sense of
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