The sophomore album of guitarist Edward Ricart
's powerful quartet (after Ancón
, Slam, 2011), now augmented with legendary British saxophonist Paul Dunmall
, is a masterful demonstration of free jazz mixed with inspirations from alternative, avant-rock outfits.
Ricart, whose list of collaborations covers an impressive spectrum, ranging from hardcore punk band Black Flag and Japanese noise master Merzbow to iconic free jazz saxophonist Peter Brötzmann
and trumpeter Roy Campbell
. Accordingly, Ricart guitar lines encompass elements from the brutal hammering of Sonny Sharock, the fluid rhythmic solos of Marc Ribot
, the distorted, effects- laden walls of sounds of Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore
and the imaginative structures of Elliot Sharp
. His quartet comprises like-minded, resourceful and fearless improvisers trumpeter Herb Robertson
, double bassist Jason Ajemian
and drummer Andrew Barker
. The recording took place while Dunmall visited New York for the Vision Festival in 2012. Chamaeleon
, a rare document of Dunmall with American improvisers, is rooted firmly in the free jazz legacy of the Sixties. Muscular, intense and slow-cooking building of a colossal wall of sounds, driven by an hyperactive rhythm section, as performed on the 22-minutes "Forager" or the explosive "Excavator" and "Beelining." There are occasional, surprising bursts of lyricism, mainly by Dunmall and Robertson as on the first part of "Elliptic Operators," but the level of dense and intense dynamics are kept throughout this recording.
Dunmall finds immediately a common language with Robertson and the front-line of the two sound as two close friends conversing in their own nuanced and inventive language. Ricart, on his part, expands the sonic envelope with his genre-defying solo and its effects, reaching abstract, psychedelic sounds at the code of "Forager" and fiery, brutal eruption on his solo on "Elliptic Operators," while Ajemian and Barker, on their parts, vary and color the pulse constantly, keeping Dunmall, Robertson and Ricart on their toes.
Ricart is a powerful leader and guitarist. On Chamaeleon
he navigates a stellar cast of improvisers, with a natural confidence and authority.