All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

94

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

Related Articles

Read Jazz Tango CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Tango
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read The Berlin Concert CD/LP/Track Review
The Berlin Concert
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 18, 2018
Read IMA IMA CD/LP/Track Review
IMA IMA
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Breathe CD/LP/Track Review
Breathe
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Good Music CD/LP/Track Review
Good Music
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Stillness & Sirens CD/LP/Track Review
Stillness & Sirens
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 17, 2018
Read "Influences" CD/LP/Track Review Influences
by Don Phipps
Published: February 17, 2018
Read "Kisaragi" CD/LP/Track Review Kisaragi
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 17, 2017
Read "Sovereign" CD/LP/Track Review Sovereign
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 30, 2017
Read "Queen City Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Queen City Blues
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 18, 2017
Read "Simbiose" CD/LP/Track Review Simbiose
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 18, 2018
Read "Unleashed" CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018