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Self taught, New York City-based guitarist/composer Rich Woodson displays loads of cleverly constructed musical propositions along with his band, “Ellipsis” on this new release titled, Control and Resistance. Accompanied by the dual sax attack of modern jazz veterans Peter Epstein and Aaron Stewart, the band spins an intricate web of thoroughly complex themes amid odd-metered back beats and sinewy rhythmic structures thanks to the exemplary support provided by drummer John Hollenbeck and bassist Mat Fieldes. - It becomes fairly evident from the onset that the rhythm section have their work cut out for themselves as they are called upon to slice and dice through Woodson’s flowing, linear and at times diametrically opposed yet altogether curiously interesting compositions. On “The Gift of Pain”, the musicians perform thoughtful unison lines integrated with alternating dialogue, counter melodies, dissonance and punchy rhythms. Throughout, Woodson is clearly the traffic cop while turning up the heat on occasion with a few well-placed solos coupled with faint does of EFX and irregular chord progressions executed with lots of muscle and agility. Soft melodic passages intersect sprightly thematic statements on “Only Gravity” while “I Remember the Acid Bath” contains counterbalancing lines atop an undulating yet firm pulse as Epstein and Stewart adhere to the compositional framework while expounding upon a hodgepodge of motifs that seamlessly evolve into other discourses. The lead soloists maintain interest throughout whether engaging in modern jazz-style improvisation or reworking motifs as these vivacious pieces contain pointed themes constructed from within a circular environment!
No doubt, Mr. Woodson has absorbed the finer points of modern music as his approach might appeal to those who grew up listening to Frank Zappa, Henry Cow or other modern day jazz-rock pioneers. In retrospect, Woodson’s music seemingly curtails any semblance of time or space, as If the listener had entered some sort of labyrinth or maze......Simply put, the modern music world needs to hear more of Rich Woodson as Control And Resistance should pacify those restless souls who abide by a stout and somewhat demanding musical constitution!........Recommended.
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Rich Woodson; Electric Guitar & Composer: Peter Epstein; Soprano Sax: Mat Fieldes; Acoustic Bass: Aaron Stewart; Tenor Sax: John Hollenbeck; Drums
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Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.