Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

103

Mark Helias' Open Loose: Atomic Clock

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
In a career spanning over twenty years, Mark Helias has worked with some interesting musical collaborations and concepts. He has constantly searched for the new and challenging, whether it has been in the company of musicians like Ray Anderson, Pheeroan akLaff, Mark Dresser and Gerry Hemingway, to name a few—or in his writing, which encompasses chamber music, big band charts and smaller collaborations like a bass duo with Hemingway.

Helias' concept of open loose sits in well with the band. Both Tom Rainey (drums) and Tony Malaby (tenor saxophone) are adventurers, like Helias. The logical impetus of the pieces lets the edge of composition open into the expanse of improvisation, making for a distinctive encounter.

Open Loose lives up to the image right off with "Subway, a tumultuous tune that flips over and about on Malaby's tenor. He honks and squawks, exhibiting a restlessness that is fanned by Rainey, and Helias moves from plucking to bowing the bass for a deeper resonance. The pitch has been set; expect the unusual. The mood, however, is something else. Helias never lets his compositions go over the top or wallow in the muck of confusion.

And so, when the next tune comes in, it turns out to be lyrical and melodic. "Chavez offers a quieter exposition, Malaby in an emotional groove that twists off into an occasional tangent. On this inspiring performance, Helias adds the contours in a short but potent solo. Ellery Eskelin comes in for "Modern Scag, a slow tune that finds the two tenor saxophonists playing neat ensemble lines, then subtly diverging before they go in for some conversation-trading ideas.

It's time for more contrast. "Many Nows is an improvisatory piece, the three musicians locked in empathic collaboration, thoughts given vent, picked up, extended and explored. The pulse is in flux, from the reflective to the upbeat, the tension palpable. The latter quality comes to the fore as Malaby skewers the harmonic line, turning it over and out, rendering a robust outpouring of feeling that slithers over skittery drums and a pounding bass line, bringing to an end a recording that engrosses as it captures the imagination.

Track Listing: Subway; Chavez; Cinematic; Momentum Interrupted; Modern scag; Atomic Clock; Plantini; What Up; Zephyr; Many Nows.

Personnel: Mark Helias: bass; Tom Rainey: drums, percussion; Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone; Ellery Eskelin: tenor saxophone (5).

Title: Atomic Clock | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Radio Legs

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Profiles
Album Reviews
Read more articles
The Signal Maker

The Signal Maker

Intakt Records
2015

buy
 

The Other Parade

Clean Feed Records
2011

buy
 

Strange Unison

Radio Legs
2008

buy
 

The Line Up

Clean Feed Records
2007

buy
Atomic Clock

Atomic Clock

Radio Legs
2006

buy
 

Fictionary

W.E.R.F.
1998

buy

Related Articles

Read When Will The Blues Leave Album Reviews
When Will The Blues Leave
By Karl Ackermann
May 22, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Dan Bilawsky
May 22, 2019
Read Infinite Itinerant Album Reviews
Infinite Itinerant
By Geno Thackara
May 22, 2019
Read Pulcino Album Reviews
Pulcino
By Nicholas F. Mondello
May 22, 2019
Read Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances Album Reviews
Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances
By Dan McClenaghan
May 21, 2019
Read That's a Computer Album Reviews
That's a Computer
By Jerome Wilson
May 21, 2019
Read All I Do Is Bleed Album Reviews
All I Do Is Bleed
By Paul Naser
May 21, 2019