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Album Review

Stéphane Payen, Ingrid Laubrock, Chris Tordini, Tom Rainey: All Set


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Stéphane Payen, Ingrid Laubrock, Chris Tordini, Tom Rainey: All Set
The contrasts heard on All Set are both its center and its strength. The music, contributed by saxophonists Stephane Payen (straight alto saxophone) and Ingrid Laubrock (tenor saxophone) is inspired by Milton Babbitt's third stream serial composition "All Set" which was performed in 1957. While that piece was through- composed, these nine compositions stand out for the quartet's ability to balance composition with improvisation.

This quartet finds the long-time partners Ingrid Laubrock and drummer Tom Rainey collaborating with one of today's most in demand bassists Chris Tordini (Tyshawn Sorey, Chris Speed, Matt Mitchell, Andy Milne) and perhaps to many listeners, a lesser known saxophonist, the Parisian Stephane Payen (Thôt, The Workshop). Like Laubrock, Payen has an interest in both improvisation and new music and both of these interests are on display here. Compositions like "Harmonization" and "The Chant," both from Payen, are systematic and rigorous in form but open to improvisation. Those tasks are often assigned to Tordini and Rainey. Think of this music as the responsible adults and their puckish offspring. Payen and Laubrock negotiate the intricate compositions allowing bass and drums to cavort and gambol. All this, thanks to the excellent sound and deft audio mixing. Not that the saxophonists don't improvise, they do in the more open compositions such as Laubrock's "Evaporating Dew" and Payen's "Banda Linda" where the music is released from the written directions, but they find the destination nonetheless. This complex and disciplined music is anything but constrained; it signals unlimited possibilities.

Track Listing

Harmonization; Spriggan; The Chant; Out of Thin Air; Proportions; Evaporating Dew; Banda Linda; Knock Whack; Dice.


Stephane Payen: saxophone; Ingrid Laubrock: saxophone; Chris Tordini: bass, acoustic; Tom Rainey: drums.

Album information

Title: All Set | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Rogue Art

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