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Sirone Bang Ensemble: Configuration

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Occasionally interesting despite its noisy attitude, the Sirone Bang Ensemble's Configuration strikes the listener with oddities. Violin, saxophone, bass, and drums—an uncommon combination—join forces through six eccentric offerings. Instrumentation aside, the group's willingness to instigate an unnecessary commotion stands out most on this album.

The opening number, "Jupiter's Future," allows individual powers to shine on a loosely structured template. It is fun and unexpected, though the following tune, "Freedom Flexibility," is a better defined straight-ahead romp, with Charles Gayle in particular flexing his might. Along with the title track, this tune achieves greater excitement than the album's longer pieces like "Jupiter's Future," "We Are Not Alone, But We Are Few," and "I Remember Albert."

Structure often untangles noise from music, a notion this group tends to dismiss too easily on these longer explorations. The ensemble clearly enjoys density, rhythms of various details, and haphazard textures. These are all beautiful elements when inspired. Here, though, they merely sound frantic. There seems to be a growing market (if one can even say such things about jazz nowadays) for improvisational jazz that is of the moment. Never mind its musical merits, as long as it showcases the moment, it is cool and admirable in today's topsy-turvy free jazz scene. As such, if all-out charges leading nowhere are your type of thing, Configuration may figure right with you.


Track Listing: Jupiter's Future; Freedom Flexibility; We Are Not Alone, but We Are Few; I Remember Albert; Notre Dame de la Garde; Configuration.

Personnel: Billy Bang: violin; Charles Gayle: alto, tenor saxophone; Sirone: bass; Tyshawn Sorey: drums.

Title: Configuration | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Silkheart Records

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