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Album Review

Paul Flaherty / Randall Colbourne / James Chumley Hunt / Mike Roberson: Borrowed From Children


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Paul Flaherty / Randall Colbourne / James Chumley Hunt / Mike Roberson: Borrowed From Children
Let's misquote a Rolling Stones' lyric here, with the music of Paul Flaherty "you can always get what you want," and maybe to a greater extent, "you get what you need." For more decades than he might want to count, the saxophonist has been making his self-described 'hated music.' We're talking hate as in a bugaboo, a bogey, or a thorn in one's flesh. Because his music is free. Free like a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting or a Warner Brothers Wile E. Coyote vs. Road Runner cartoon.

The path Flaherty chose, like that of Jack Wright, John Dikeman, and Charles Gayle, is a desolate one. Blowing unadulterated sounds as he does was punk rock two decades before punk rock. You won't hear it on a jukebox, nor a jazz radio station. But hearing Flaherty in person live is an experience, a happening. This live recording from 2019 is just such beautiful hate. Flaherty is reunited with his long time sideman, drummer Randall Colbourne. Together they have released a few dozen discs. The quartet heard here also includes guitarist Mike Roberson and trumpeter James Chumley Hunt.

The four tracks and 61-minutes of music touch on multiple structures and methodologies, none preplanned or notated. The music can spiral and levitate as light as cloud or alight as in a wildfire. Flaherty comes from the Albert Ayler-Pharoah Sanders-Marshall Allen tradition with a spiritual approach to free blowing. This is evident throughout, especially on "Dark Leaves Linger" where his saxophone speaks with a bluesy growl against Hunt's conch shell, then Roberson's bouncing guitar lines. The quartet acts as a cooperative, exchanging ideas and strategizing together. Freed of structured sound, the resourceful listener can summon fragments of Albert and Donald Ayler, Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry, plus Bern Nix.

Solo or in duo with a drummer (Colbourne or Chris Corsano), Flaherty is often obliged to perform fiery musical feats. Here he acts as an unselfish leader. "Brazen Eyes" opens more like a classical chamber piece than outward avant sound. As the music progresses, Colbourne's drumming, freed of time à la Sunny Murray, opens into a deferential brain storm. Each instrument is heard equally up front, and maybe it's just imagination, but are the classic "You Don't Know What Love Is" and fragments of Miles Davis' Sketches Of Spain (Columbia, 1960) quoted here? Maybe, by trying to listening sometimes, you get what you need.

Track Listing

Crude Gray Sky; Dark Leaves Linger; Brazen Eyes; An Old Man Gone.


Paul Flaherty: saxophone, tenor; Randall Colbourne: drums; James Chumley Hunt: trumpet; Mike Roberson: guitar, electric.

Album information

Title: Borrowed From Children | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: 577 Records

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