47

Elliott Sharp Trio: Aggregat

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Elliott Sharp Trio: Aggregat Long revered for his innovative approach to the electric guitar, composer Elliott Sharp's laudable but lesser known skills as a saxophonist finally come to the fore on Aggregat. Accompanied by bassist Brad Jones and drummer Ches Smith, Sharp performs on soprano and tenor saxophones, in addition to his main axe. In light of Sharp's oeuvre, this atypically straightforward trio setting intriguingly frames his progressive aesthetic within the context of a cross-generational ensemble.

Jones came to prominence performing with the The Jazz Passengers and Marc Ribot in the Downtown NYC scene, a decade after luminaries like Sharp and John Zorn had established a creative foothold. Smith's resume bridges the gap between generations, with memberships in the bands of veterans such as Ribot and Tim Berne, as well as in those of younger peers like Mary Halvorson and Trevor Dunn. Transcending differences in age and experience, the trio revels in freewheeling avant-garde accord, infusing every twist, turn and detour of Sharp's idiosyncratic interpretations of the jazz tradition with vim and vigor.

Although Sharp's solo guitar recording Sharp? Monk? Sharp! Monk! (Clean Feed, 2006) confirmed his interest in more conventional aspects of the jazz canon, little in his discography (other than some soundtrack work) will prepare listeners for the thorny saxophone driven bop that dominates this session. The buoyant opener, "Nucular," is dedicated to Sonny Rollins and exudes the sort of pliant rhythmic sensibility and bracing melodic invention that the honoree is renowned for, albeit intensified with an expressionistic, Ayler-esque flair. More abstract fare, like the spiky "Mal Du Droit" and the roiling "Estuary," emphasize Sharp's most outré sensibilities; his glottal avian refrains and warbling trills negotiate all manner of vertiginous angles and dissonant intervals, oblique structural facets that Jones and Smith keenly underscore with an elastic sense of time and wide range of textural dynamics.

Half the tunes highlight Sharp's singular saxophone prowess, while the remainder feature his kaleidoscopic fretwork, which is as distinctive as his highly personalized reed technique. From the reverb-drenched surrealism of Spaghetti Western-inspired fanfares ("Satan Sandwich") and wily deconstructed blues ("Hard Landing"), to blistering free bop ("The Grip"), futuristic cyber-punk ("Positronics") and phantasmagoric tone poems ("Refractory"), Sharp's peerless six-string wizardry surpasses stylistic limitations as readily as genre clichés.

Though sonically adventurous, Aggregat is ultimately far more accessible than Sharp's usual releases, revealing a diverse array of multihued charms upon repeated spins.

Track Listing: Nucular; Hard Landing; Mal Du Droit; The Grip; Allelia; Gegenschein; Refractory; Global Swarming; Positronics; Estuary; Figure Of Speech; Satan Sandwich.

Personnel: Elliott Sharp: tenor and soprano saxophones, electric guitar; Brad Jones: bass; Ches Smith: drums.

Title: Aggregat | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Second Act CD/LP/Track Review Second Act
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Imaga Mondo CD/LP/Track Review Imaga Mondo
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Port Of Call CD/LP/Track Review Port Of Call
by John Sharpe
Published: August 23, 2017
Read May I Introduce To You CD/LP/Track Review May I Introduce To You
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "The Best of Bossacucanova" CD/LP/Track Review The Best of Bossacucanova
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 6, 2017
Read "Life on the Edge" CD/LP/Track Review Life on the Edge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "Sedimental You" CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "Lantern" CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Desire & Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Trail Magic" CD/LP/Track Review Trail Magic
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 19, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.