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Aural Mayhem – Rare Noise / Jamie Saft - Joe Morris / Chat Noir

C. Michael Bailey By

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On a bright spring Thursday afternoon, June 28, 1928, Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five entered the Okeh Studios in Chicago Illinois to record "Three Perfect Minutes" of music in the guise of Joe "King" Oliver's immortal "West End Blues." Describing Armstrong's "West End" cornet solo, Gunther Schuller opined that it was, ..."an impassioned almost stammering repetitive phrase that seems to float, completely unencumbered, above the accompaniment." Thus, the most important recording in jazz history.

What does this have to do with the present Rare Noise releases by Jamie Saft/Joe Morris and Chat Noir?

Absolutely nothing...save that both are considered "music."

Rare Noise, the London-based music label founded by guitarist Eraido Bernocchi and raconteur Giacomo Bruzzo, specializes in digitally documenting sonic crime scenes by the likes of Berserk!, Brainkiller and Slobber Pup: easily the distance between here and the edge of the universe from the sainted Satchmo, while remaining firmly on the same map. This is the Shape of Jazz to Come...

Jamie Saft & Joe Morris
Plymouth
Rare Noise
2014

Fresh from their success with Slobber Pup—Black Aces keyboardist Jamie Saft and guitarist Joe Morris continue their musical sedition with an electric quintet intent on recreating in "song" Sherman's famous "March to the Sea." Plymouth is comprised of three lengthy seizures intent on infecting the world surrounding Justin Bieber and turning it against "pop artist," and all similar posers. "Manomet" opens the disc, remaining in an introductory mode for its full 20- minute duration, not unlike what the Grateful Dead made a cottage industry out of their prolix "tuning" sessions. Morris and guitarist Mary Halvorson crochet kinetic afghans of fire and rage, resting on the molten organ of Saft.

"Plymouth," the second, central pane of this of this riotous triptych, begins as modern orchestral, Saft indulging electronics while the two guitarists gently provide a filigree of anarchy before launching into an extended schizo-form counterpoint punctuated by an electric piano and organ sounding as if played by Keith Emerson with rabies (Greg Lake lay dead on the floor). At the 8:30 point, an industrial rhythm is set up and suspended by the organ while the guitars chord their way over and under. Saft plays a bit of Jon Lord in church in the coda while Morris' demented Richie Blackmore (deftly mixing '70s band allusions) begins tying things up...if that is what one calls an nuclear meltdown resulting in the end of the world.

The disc's magnum opus is the 28-minute "Standish" which begins ethereally like "In A Silent Way" before an introspective of guitar teasing goofing on the Twilight Zone theme. "Standish" emulates a low hum of anxiety building into a colossal breakdown of all human systems before ending in the closest thing to a 1970s rock orgy as one can get. This is music for those tired of being polite, drinking their tea with sugar and burying their victims in the woods.

Chat Noir
Elec|3|cities
Rare Noise
2014

In contrast to Plymouth, Chat Noir's Elec|3|cities is a Star Ward (the first trilogy) symphony played by a traditional jazz piano trio...that is, if you mean by "traditional," a smoldering ball of Uranium allowed to make moody and introspective soundtrack music for a post-apocalyptic fantasy. No anarchy here, pianist Michele Cavallari composes and plays downright pretty melodies that transform into militant marches to the border (as on "Avant Buddha" and what border is never revealed). Bassist Luca Fogagnolo and drummer Giuliano Ferrari are left to forge their own paths, but never diverge too far from Cavallari.

Fogagnolo bows on "Chelsea High Line," giving the piece a middle to far eastern flavor, mixed with the muted percussion of Ferrari. This is what Black Sabbath might have sounded like had they been taken seriously. Seriously different from Plymouth, Elec|3|cities attempts to, at least in theory, remain within the lines resulting in some compelling listening intended for the same audience who find Plymouth appealing, only after said audience has had their medication. Music like this is to be eaten with a spoon followed immediately by swimming in deep water.

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