95

Heath Watts - Blue Armstrong: Bright Yellow with Bass

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Heath Watts - Blue Armstrong: Bright Yellow with Bass
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.

Album information

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

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Django-shift
Django-shift
Rez Abbasi
Read West Meets East
West Meets East
Adam Shulman Septet
Read Fela's First
Fela's First
Fela Ransome Kuti & His Highlife Rakers
Read The Rise Up
The Rise Up
Mehmet Ali Sanlikol
Read New York Moment
New York Moment
JC Hopkins Biggish Band
Read Pollinator
Pollinator
Matt Ulery
Read Hug!
Hug!
Matt Wilson Quartet

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.