After an absence of over 10 years, drummer Bobby Previte reorganizes the "Led Zeppelin of Jazz," Bump. Any familiar listener has to know that a disc with Previte, Steve Swallow and Marty Ehrlich is going to be a loud, messy, challenging ordeal - and Counterclockwise delivers the goods. In front of Previte’s insistent rock beat, the rest of the band spits out a corrosive brand of fusion that makes sense, swinging and pounding the listener into gravel all at the same time.
The recording is loosely arranged around the "Soul" suite, each song with a different prefix (e.g., 877-Soul). The opener, "877-Soul," is directed by Swallow’s electric fuzz and Previte’s rock spirit. These "Soul" pieces are separated by more conventional songs such as "And The Wind Cries...Mademoiselle Katherine," the overlaying of Jimi Hendrix’s "And the Wind Cries Mary" and Miles Davis’ "Mademoiselle Mabry." How's that for convention?
While steeped in late 1980s avant-garde, Counterclockwise never loses sight of its swinging tonic center. This unruly, in-your-face music demands that you listen to it and like it. Wayne Horvitz’s deft pianism keeps it firmly on track, even while trombonist Curtis Fowlkes or Marty Ehrlich seek to explore different terrain.
The final "Soul" refrain adds Timothy Young on guitar when he meshes well with the iconoclastic horns to deliver a Gospel via the 21st Century tour de force. Perhaps a bit more consistent than drummer Matt Wilson on his recent release, Humidity, Previte sails the rough waters of fusion-avant guard and calms them in his wake (albeit by his definition of calm). Counterclockwise is a beautiful mix of demanding sonics and rhythm all smoothed out by a traditional spread of expert jazz piano and bass.
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