141

The Anthony Shadduck Quartet: Debut

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
The Anthony Shadduck Quartet: Debut An acoustic bass, an acoustic drum and clarinet may bring to mind the small combos of Benny Goodman or Buddy DeFranco, but when you add guitarist Nels Cline to the equation (armed with his box of electronics to boot) then you can be sure that the cat will go tearing out of the room. Indeed, from the beginning of "The Stars of Stage, Screen and Radiology, with its anguished, animal-like screeches from clarinet and the rapid, angular guitar lines, it is clear that there will be no half measures on Debut, bassist Anthony Shadduck's first release as leader.

The electronics on "Half & Half & Half sound like someone is hopelessly trying to tune in to a radio frequency in outer space and picking up some wild, honking reed which tries to force its way through the electronic interference. Once the reception is clear, and Lynn Johnson has wrung every strange noise from her clarinet in vampiric fashion, Shadduck, Cline and drummer Ches Smith conduct themselves as an orthodox trio. Cline takes a meandering, idiosyncratic solo as the song winds down slowly and gracefully.

"The Girl with the Sky-Blue Tears follows on almost seamlessly from "Half & Half & Half like a logical coda. Shadduck's gentle bass and Smith's crying cymbal gradually build towards a slightly harsher aesthetic. Throughout the album, Shadduck's soft approach to his instrument contrasts starkly with the explosions of high intensity, free-playing around him.

The shifts in mood, the tension built and then dismantled, and the layers of sound which push and pull at each other characterize the entire album but are best heard on "Mr. Lima's Sad News. The song grabs you and shakes you until your teeth rattle. Cline steers it tantalizingly into bluesy territory before the song mutates once again, Smith's tireless drumming leading the barrage of sound which gradually peters out; the calm after the storm.

If you think you recognize the pattern by now, "Styrofoam Audience demonstrates that there is little that is predictable about Debut. This brooding number has a slightly otherworldly feel. Each musician dips a tentative toe into the improvisational waters, the ripples all connect, but the expected collective plunge never comes.

Anthony Shadduck's quartet successfully maintains the tension and excitement of traversing the high wire without ever falling into the abyss of over-exuberance and excess which often mars the best intentions of improvised-music makers. This is fearless experimental music, brash and unapologetic improvisation.


Track Listing: The Stars of Stage, Screen and Radiology; Half & Half & Half; The Girl with the Sky Blue Eyes; Mr. Lima's Sad news; Styrofoam Audience.

Personnel: Nels Cline: electric guitar, electronics; Lynn Johnston: clarinet; Anthony Shadduck: bass; Ches Smith: drums, percussion.

Title: Debut | Year Released: 2007


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "The Seasons" CD/LP/Track Review The Seasons
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Tales & Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Tales & Tones
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Desire & Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by John Sharpe
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Pekka" CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Double Strike" CD/LP/Track Review Double Strike
by James Nadal
Published: May 31, 2017
Read "Sanjay Divecha and Secret" CD/LP/Track Review Sanjay Divecha and Secret
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 2, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.