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Russ Lossing: As It Grows

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Spacious, articulate, and artfully composed, the material heard on Russ Lossing's As It Grows —apparently some of it improvised and some composed—is consistently musical and satisfyingly rangy. Although there's a persistent strain of finespun moodiness that isn't for seekers of the heavy groove, there's enough heart-stopping beauty on this disc to make you forget, momentarily, that Keith Jarrett ever existed. This is the music Cecil Taylor might've made if he cared about conventional notions of musical pleasureability. All comparisons aside, this is one of the loveliest jazz documents I've heard in some time.

Lossing's own bio claims that he straddles "the line between 20th Century classical music and modern jazz." Personally, I wish more straddlers would make up their minds, and I'm happy to report that it seems, at least for half of this project, Lossing did so, choosing the latter form, but filtering it through a refined personal aesthetic. After a handful of loose, improvised pieces, Lossing & Co. launch into the "Suite of Time," a five-part Lossing composition that edges back up to that imaginary line. A jazz feel is tenuously maintained by the impeccable drumming of Paul Motian, but the vibe in this suite is definitely more Alice Tully Hall than the Vanguard. Schuller's bowed passages could be out of Boulez. Forgetting stylistic categorization, gorgeous is gorgeous, and that's simply the best word I can find—Roget notwithstanding—for this music.

This is a fine document of a trio that has clearly developed a sophisticated language. It's mature, serious music, almost somber. It never bounces—it glides, flutters, swoops and sometimes screeches to a sudden halt. It's crisply articulated and nutritiously complex. It is exquisitely recorded. Most importantly, it breathes.

Track Listing: 1 Motion Units Lossing 3:30 2 Coyote Jumps Lossing 5:50 3 Nagual Lossing 7:42 4 Verse Lossing 7:52 5 No Trace Lossing 5:44 6 Suite of Time: As It Grows Lossing 2:52 7 Suite of Time: Nothing Exists Without Lossing 3:31 8 Suite of Time: Form and Color Lossing 5:50 9 Suite of Time: Other Beings Lossing 4:53 10 Suite of Time: Naturalness Lossing 3:30

Personnel: Russ Lossing: Piano; Paul Motian: Drums; Ed Schuller: Bass.

Title: As It Grows | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Hat Hut Records

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