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Irish modern jazz guitarist Mark O'Leary is on a veritable roll. With several comparatively recent releases for this distinguished UK-based jazz/improvisation record label, he has caught the attention of the global jazz community in rather expeditious fashion. On that note, O'Leary is a slick-picking instrumentalist, but unlike many of his peers, he makes every note count. Working with New York City jazz notables like pianist Uri Caine and drummer Ben Perowsky, O'Leary morphs sentiment with deft utilization of space using largely captivating methodologies. Simply put, the trio keeps you on the edge of your seat. It's partly about speed, substance, and a nicely-engineered sense of the dynamic.
The band kicks it into high gear during a staggered swing vamp and loose groove strut on the opener, "No Time Soon. However, a good portion of this invigorating jaunt consists of the musicians' spiraling momentum amid their contrapuntal jabs, spars, and surging cadenzas. There are some somber moments, but the majority of this session is founded upon the trio's spirited and complexly arranged unison runs.
At times O'Leary slams the pedal to the metal and steers his cohorts into overdrive, and then the music teems with free-jazz/rock stylizations and seething opuses. Moreover, Caine and Perowsky fuse powerhouse chops with polyrhythmic aplomb. The trio's intuitive dialogues enact a well-organized three-way street. Realistically speaking, the album title intimates the antithesis of what this ensemble is all about. It's a gateway that offers a glimpse into a bright future for this young guitarist, who continually garners the attention of proven jazz warriors. Vigorously recommended.
Track Listing: No Time Soon; Animated; November Papers; Hysteria; Broken; Prepared; Closure; Surfacing; Caoineadh; Tribal Tendencies.
Personnel: Mark O'Leary: guitar; Uri Caine: piano; Ben Perowsky: drums/percussion.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.