Table and Chairs music is a new label dedicated to harnessing Seattle's rich music legacy. Its first release, Agogic
, is the eponymous debut featuring trumpeter Cuong Vu
and saxophonist Andrew D'Angelo
. D'Angelo cast his dye as an alto saxophonist in Seattle before moving to New York, and has played with Kurt Rosenwinkel
and Erik Friedlander
, among others. Vu has made an indelible impression as a thoughtful and resourceful musician, one who is never afraid to forge ahead and create new and tantalizing pathways.
D'Angelo and Vu picked drummer Evan Woodle
and bassist Luke Bergman
for the rhythm section. Their instincts are spot on, as the two drive the pulse and create an organic bottom for their front men. And given their wont, D'Angelo and Vu find their muse in several streams that explore, explode, orchestrate and turn in tangents and trajectories that sweep and surprise.
The beat nestles on the edge of funk, and the bass clarinet and trumpet ensemble lines are seamlessly orchestrated as "En Se Ne' opens. Then begins a dance around the concept. Vu flutters in and across the melody, with interjections from D'Angelo adding to the thrust. The pulse begins to radiate heat, as Vu ups the intensity before it all simmers and calm descends. The wheel has come full circle, with abandon and control turning out to be comfortable playmates.
The soft, silken tones of the trumpet greet "Acid Kiss," before it dissolves into an abstract frame. Vu seems content ensconced in the melody as Woodle adds vibrant hues on the drums and Bergman keeps the pulse pegged with spaced notes. But statis is not for the inventive, and change is vented by angularities that cut a deep gorge. Vu rides out into a seemingly fathomless swell of invention, loosening the fetters of the composition with incendiary abstractions, while D'Angelo balances with the melody, before shooting into the upper registers of his saxophone. In the turmoil and the calm, logic has not been defied by substance.
Could the quartet actually be playing a waltz in honor of "Felicia"? They certainly are, even as the tempo changes a tad as Bergman and Woodle come up front. But ,in the final analysis, it is the emotive depth that D'Angelo and Vu inject, even when they move out from the core of the composition, before returning to its soul.
Agogic has delivered a stunning debut, harnessing both energy and finesse, taking the music to exceptional heights.