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Rich Halley 4: Creating Structure

Hrayr Attarian By

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The totally improvised Creating Structure is saxophonist Rich Halley's fifth release with his regular working quartet in as many years. With this exquisite album Halley achieves a new level of musical excellence as he perfects his signature sound of raw sophistication and his unique, simultaneously emotive and cerebral style.

On the dramatic and free flowing "Riding the Trade Winds" for instance Halley launches into a moving and muscular solo. He utilizes short, erudite phrases to build a crystalline melody that is crisply angular and vibrantly organic. The primal and jubilant rhythmic backdrop adds a Caribbean feel.

Elsewhere on the soulful "Echoes of the South Side," Halley's blues tinged tone weaves an elegant and poetic soliloquy. His occasional, ardent honks and squawks add a thrillingly visceral element to the tune. Bassist Clyde Reed takes center stage with his intriguingly agile pizzicato that emerges out of rollicking group vamps that terminate in a fiery climax.

Reed and Halley engage in a sublime, melancholic duet on "Quiet Like Stone." Trombonist Michael Vlatkovich creates an eerie sonic framework with his tolling chimes that contrasts and complements Reed and Halley's gentle, wistful song.

Vlatkovich's buttery growl opens the passionate "View Through the Ellipse." Halley's eloquent, conversational tenor flows over drummer Carson Halley's splashing cymbals and galloping beats while Reed bows a lyrical serenade. Vlatkovich and Halley maintain a stimulating and poignant conversation as Reed' con arco grows more furious and Carson Halley's percussion more thunderous. The resulting delightful cacophony ushers in the electrifying conclusion.

Driven primarily by Carson Halley's furious polyrhythms the band demonstrates superlative camaraderie in their collective extemporizations. "The Shove" for example, is a riotous four-way stream of consciousness discourse that is filled with acerbic, fervent ideas and introspective spontaneity. The ensemble performance evokes a busy urban scene.

With every one of their uniformly superb discs, Halley and his colleagues continue to push the idiomatic envelope further. In this aspect Creating Structure is no exception. The music is provocative yet surprisingly accessible and despite its ad-lib origin not chaotic. Rather than a mere blowing session this record is a suave and cultured expression of unfettered imagination.

Track Listing: Analog Counterpoint; Rain Percolates Laterite; Riding the Trade Winds; Angular Momentum; The Shadow of Evening; Metal Buzz; Street Rumors; View Through the Eclipse; Echoes of the South Side; The Tumbled Lands; Small Perturbations; Working the Interstices; Quiet Like Stone; Pushing Breath; The Shove; The Response.

Personnel: Rich Halley: tenor saxophone, percussion; Michael Vlatkovich: trombone, percussion, wind chimes, accordion; Clyde Reed: bass; Carson Halley: drums.

Title: Creating Structure | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Pine Eagle Records

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