Pandelis Karayorgis Quintet: Afterimage

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "Sway"

Boston, MA area pianist, composer Pandelis Karayorgis brandishes his magic at a Chicago venue with some of the Windy City's finest improvisers. He shifts many concepts with odd-metered progressions while straddling the avant-garde spectrum amid a manifesto based on cohesive discourses, where the hornists may purposely lag behind the beat or bust out into commodious movements. Karayorgis is a perceptive composer, whether he ingrains a smoky blues motif with sinuous phrasings or positions the band into a manifold gait where modern and mainstream jazz interlock with free-bop and scorching dialogues by the frontline. Thus, nothing seems out of scope, but his razor-sharp focus is primarily centered on imaginative compositions, regardless of complexity and his integration of demanding time signatures or geometrically designed storylines.

"Sway" is a prime example of Karayorgis' multidimensional compositional mindset. Here, the ensemble punches out a medium-tempo bop groove, peppered with saxophonists, Dave Rempis and Keefe Jackson's stinging unison choruses, followed by the former's scrappy alto sax solo. Meanwhile, the pianist's punctual contrasts serve a dual purpose as he accents the pulse and toggles the pitch with curling chord clusters, sparking a hybrid Thelonious MonkBud Powell muse. During the bridge, bassist Nate McBride takes the spotlight, permeating a sense of loneliness and zooms in for the kill as the hornists' return and intersect the primary theme with a spunky offshoot leading to the finale.

Personnel: Dave Rempis: tenor saxophone, alto saxophone and baritone saxophone; Keefe Jackson: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Pandelis Karayorgis: piano; Nate McBride: bass; Frank Rosaly: drums.

Title: Afterimage | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Driff Records

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