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Mette Rasmussen/Chris Corsano: All The Ghosts At Once

Mark Corroto By

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Today's hypothesis states that all free jazz improvisation demands the musicians maintain the music's vigor like a juggler, to all appearances, keeping all the balls in the air at once. Proof of this theory is the opening piece "Train Track" from alto saxophonist Mette Rasmussen and drummer Chris Corsano's release All The Ghosts At Once. The music opens with wavy Evan Parker-like saxophone notes and cymbal scrapes that evolve into unblended energy jazz. The duo produces a buoyant sound, part primal energy drive, part liberation.

Corsano is indeed skilled at this endeavor. He cut his teeth recording with free jazz legend Paul Flaherty and has also been a vital partner to saxophonists Joe McPhee, Akira Sakata, Paul Dunmall, trumpeter Nate Wooley and guitarist Thurston Moore. His take on drumming, like Paal Nilssen-Love, would more likely be mistaken for Keith Moon, than Elvin Jones. Like his partners listed above, he is more an energy player than a a timekeeper pledged to swing.

Tracks like "How Many Of These Things Do We Need Anyway?" display that penchant towards energy. Corsano keeps all the corners of the revival tent up, supplying the structure for Rasmussen's sermon. The Danish saxophonist, now a resident of Trondheim, Norway has a vocal approach on alto that takes in upper and lower register, commanding attention whether she is ripping musical phone books in half or painting landscapes in miniature. That distinction gives this recording it's definition and refutes the opening hypothesis. There are passages here that eschew that sustained juggling for another perspective.

"O Space Heater! My Space Heater!" opens with with a popping alto solo that morphs into single notes that Corsano matches with his drumstick scraped on cymbal. The matched tuning belies the juggling theory, as the pair delve into minimalist improvisation. The music here is much more than energy jazz, it enlightened as in 'make luminous.' "Yesterday's Teenyboppers Are Today's Republicans" abandons the roles of drummer and saxophone for just sound producers. The piece could just as easily been produced by an electroacoustic artist like Günter Müller or Toshimaru Nakamura. Elsewhere, their tribute "Dots ............ (For Paul Flaherty)" is a hesitant skidding/stop mini-masterpiece of unbalanced improvisation.

This disc suggests that you should come for the energy, but stay for the abstract.

Track Listing: Train Track; _____’s Lament (Part 1); _____’s Lament (Part 2); Contester; How Many Of These Things Do We Need Anyway?; Exploding Foods; Dots ............ (For Paul Flaherty); O Space Heater! My Space Heater!; Yesterday’s Teenyboppers Are Today's Republicans.

Personnel: Mette Rasmussen: alto saxophone; Chris Corsano: drums.

Title: All The Ghosts At Once | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Relative Pitch Records

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