12

Heath Watts - Blue Armstrong: Bright Yellow with Bass

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
The musicians underscore the tone of this program by citing a quote from renowned artist Wassily Kandinsky: "The sound of colors is so definite that it would be hard to find anyone who would express bright yellow with bass notes or dark lake with treble." But of course, the interpretations are decided by the listening audience, especially since most of these works are steeped in the free-jazz realm.

Heath Watts (soprano sax) and Blue Armstrong (bass) yield a raw, stripped down soundscape via an ongoing sequence of highs, lows, and intricate phrasings. Per the liners, the saxophonist advises that "This music was recorded in the mountains of Montana ... far away from the deep urban canyons of Philadelphia or New York City." Hence, the duo was seemingly relaxed and free of distractions.

And while it may take a bit of stamina to play the album in one continuous listen, the musicians generate popping melodies, Monk-like cadences and numerous movements based on contrasts and realignment mechanisms. Watt also renders plaintive cries amid gritty and animated lines as the duo navigates through a complex strategic initiative, also featuring Armstrong's edgy arco lines and fluid time-keeping.

"On the Outside from Within" is modeled with Watt's breathy notes and the bassist's fragmented parts, leading to a discordant and rather serrated ballad. Whereas, "Non-Standard Issue" features the saxophonist's bristling flurries and Armstrong's contrapuntal articulations. At times, the program translates into a rough and ragged listen, but the duo's creativity wins out as their fertile concepts seed the buoyant flows and energized discourses.

Track Listing: Adhocery; The Other and the Same; Assits; From One Extreme to Unspecified; Every Other One Is Every Bit Other; On the Outside from Within; Moment of Asking; Inverted Commas; Non- Standard Issue; Doubly Singular.

Personnel: Heath Watts: soprano saxophone; Blue Armstrong: double bass.

Title: Bright Yellow with Bass | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Leo Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Way of It CD/LP/Track Review The Way of It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Tag Book CD/LP/Track Review Tag Book
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Hide Ye Idols CD/LP/Track Review Hide Ye Idols
by Troy Collins
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Spavati, Mozda Sanjati CD/LP/Track Review Spavati, Mozda Sanjati
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn CD/LP/Track Review Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Queen City Blues CD/LP/Track Review Queen City Blues
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 18, 2017
Read "Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis" CD/LP/Track Review Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "The Seasons" CD/LP/Track Review The Seasons
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 11, 2017
Read "Fourtune" CD/LP/Track Review Fourtune
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 28, 2016
Read "More Than This" CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "The Candy Men" CD/LP/Track Review The Candy Men
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 28, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.

Please support out sponsor