548

Anthony Santor/ Ari Diaconis Project: Beyond Human Aid

By

Sign in to view read count
Anthony Santor/ Ari Diaconis Project: Beyond Human Aid

Soul, instrument, listener—the ideal signal flow for free jazz. Sadly, the sound that can sear across a club all too often falters when forced to travel the shorter distance towards a microphone and on to CD. The inherent difficulty—and some might argue irrelevance—of successfully documenting a primarily improvised form, makes successful releases all the more valuable. Beyond Human Aid presents three lengthy, but tempered and focused tracks from a New York-based group led by bassist Anthony Santor and percussionist Ari Diaconis.



The first of these tracks, "Sorcerey and Southern Bells," is plunged forward by guitarist Nick Cassarino's probing strokes of harmony, and teetering, over growing, embryonic rhythm. Drummer Geza Carr and Ari Diaconis on congas effortlessly coax ideas from each other, juxtaposing portions of phased, aggravated battery with tight, clinical interplay, all the while underpinned and indulged by Santor's bass. The sound is quickly dialed into sharp focus by a harmonious and concerted horn solo led by Alex Woslton on trumpet before swiftly dissolving again into an angular, progressive improvisation from Cassarino. Further in, Santor interjects a contrasting solo interlude that is initially haunted by airy horn lines which grow into a much freer, surrealist soundscape. Here the rhythmic and melodic color is power-washed away by a slew of swells and in depth exploration of percussive timbre, only to have this puesdo-calmness distorted, as if one had pressed fast-forward on the rhythm section.



"RAW" must be meant ironically, standing as probably the strongest offering from a compositional and structural viewpoint. The twin alto saxophones of Andy Allen and Bryan McNamara join together in a bold exposition of a theme somewhat reminiscent of the old Police Squad movies, but always with a nod to the avant-garde, ala Bern Nix and John Zorn. Cassarino's deft and percussive interplay with Carr sets up a wild passage of improvisation—the best coming from this stellar partnership—which drift across the boundaries of both the free and traditional jazz vernacular with wantless abandon.



The last and most lengthy track opens with the group dynamic completely reversed. The rhythmic prowess of Diaconis and Carr is brought to the fore against a constantly decaying, but none the less elegant harmonic carousel. The percussive rock-face produced by the duo affords the soloist limitless nooks and crannies—which they make full use of—before transitioning into an innovative rendition of Wayne Shorter's canonical "Footprints".



Beyond Human Aid is a bold release, and certainly achieves its promise of capturing an energetic group in a way previously only conceivable live.


Track Listing: Sorcery and Southern Bells; RAW; With All The Earnestness At Our Command / the goal, right? / Footprints.

Personnel: Anthony Santor: bass; Alex Woslton: trumpet; Andy Allen: alto sax; Bryan McNamara: alto sax; Nick Cassarino: guitar; Ari Diaconis: congos; Geza Carr: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Till They Lay Me Down" CD/LP/Track Review Till They Lay Me Down
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 5, 2016
Read "PointCounterPoint" CD/LP/Track Review PointCounterPoint
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 7, 2016
Read "Checking Out" CD/LP/Track Review Checking Out
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 19, 2016
Read "Acoustically Speaking" CD/LP/Track Review Acoustically Speaking
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "Argonautica" CD/LP/Track Review Argonautica
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "Ena / One" CD/LP/Track Review Ena / One
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 26, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!