New England area drummer/percussionist Eric Rosenthal continues his collaborations with up and coming stars from the New England improv scene with an interesting set titled, Crawlspace/Universal Noir
Crawlspace represents seven tracks featuring Rosenthal and soprano saxophonist Bhob Rainey performing as a twosome. On pieces such as “Whereby the Village Seeks Repose & “Certain Debts Are Painstakingly Collected”, Rosenthal and Rainey slice and dice themes, engage in abstracts while performing in a somewhat emotional vein. At times, Rainey’s phrasing and conceptual approaches evoke thoughts of someone crying to be heard or noticed, through various streams of intensity, whether sublime or highly emphatic. Rosenthal provides wavering rhythmic structures while also augmenting tonal contrast via his crafty cymbal work and utilization of small percussion instruments and slide flute. The duo loosely deconstruct Monk’s “Ugly Beauty” while producing faint murmurs and high pitched sounds through quietly chaotic passages and motifs throughout the scope of this recording. On the piece titled “Epilogue”, Rosenthal utilizes his slide whistle and trades lines with Rainey as the duo elicit bizarre sounds which evoke – bird calls in the wild or perhaps --- parts unknown!
Tracks eight through eleven comprise Universal Noir featuring saxophonist Jack Wright and trumpeter Taylor Ho Bynum. Here, the ensemble work their way through conversational dialogue fragmented themes and jagged unison lines. At fifteen minutes in length these parts are all about expressionism and convergence as the ensemble display a good deal of charisma and inventiveness from top to bottom.
Crawlspace/Universal Noir is yet another prime example of the thriving New England improv scene, featuring highly skilled musicians willing to explore, take chances and to some extent- maximize risk! These musicians while somewhat unrestrained or uninhibited are game and ready to confront the challenges and goals they set for themselves, as the results are often rewarding.........Recommended. * * * 1/2
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