108

Mike Pride’s From Bacteria to Boys: Betweenwhile

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Mike Pride’s From Bacteria to Boys: Betweenwhile
Drummer Mike Pride is nothing if not busy, as a list of past collaborators including Milford Graves, George Lewis and Mary Halvorson shows. Such collaborations inevitably testify to his range, as does Betweenwhile, the second release by his working quartet. The trouble might be, however, that this very range dilutes the group's identity.

Thus the two Thelonious Monkian minutes of "Rose" are in contrast with the knottily Anthony Braxtonian "It Doesn't Stop," where alto saxophonist Darius Jones has to negotiate all sorts of musical quirks, suggestive of the relentless pace of modern life, at least at first. When things settle down, after the first couple of minutes, the contrast is marked, sounding almost as if starting an entirely new piece.

"Emo Hope" is a kind of sprightly contemporary ballad which elicits some of Jones' most affecting work. Pride also shows what a quietly effective drummer he can be, in the way that he colors the proceedings. The resulting palette is rich, which makes the group's more customary restlessness seem a little wearing. It's never contrived or hewn for effect, but there's a timeless virtue in letting the music speak for itself, as everyone from Muggsy Spanier to Marion Brown has shown.

Pianist Alexis Marcelo comes up with some Cecil Taylor-like volcanics on the lengthy "Reese Witherspoon," but this is, again, simply an episode in a piece so multifaceted that it offers stark contrast to "12 Lines for Build," which builds in an entirely individual way. Here, the episodic nature of the music feels right because it possesses an air of collective expression, of things happening in the moment. Jones is astringent to the point where it sounds like a purged expression of everything inessential, and that's hardly a common thing these days.

The flickering blue flame of "Surcharge" hints, too, at the possibility of the band as a work in progress, making apparent just how deep the players' mutual understanding is, for all its episodic flares. In the accompanying press release Pride talks about how he now considers the band as family, and here, more than anywhere else, the notion comes into its own. The level of listening on the part of all four players is deep and, despite the higher profile contributions of Jones and Marcelo, it's actually bassist Peter Bitenc's work that snags the ear.

Track Listing

Kancamagus; Reese Witherspoon; Rose; It Doesn't Stop; Emo Hope; Bole: the Mouth of What?; Inbetweenwhile; Surcharge; 12 Lines for Build; Kancamagus.

Personnel

Darius Jones: alto saxophone; Peter Bitenc: bass; Alexis Marcelo: piano; Mike Pride: drums.

Album information

Title: Betweenwhile | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: AUM Fidelity

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.