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Disassembler: Fear Is The Mother Of Violence

Chris May By

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Warren himself is more prominent than on the previous album, his 'distressed' post-Hendrix guitar artfully blending rock sonics with a jazz sensibility
Fear Is The Mother Of Violence
33 Jazz

Led by guitarist and composer Trevor Warren, Disassembler brings together half a dozen outward-looking British jazz musicians in a jazz and post-rock mix with Native American, Albanian and Mongolian flourishes. The adventurous and attractively rough-edged Fear Is The Mother Of Violence is the follow-up to the group's debut, Disassembler, (33 Jazz, 2005), and is shaped conceptually around Warren's disenchantment with the politics of Bush and Blair (it was recorded before Barack Obama's election victory). The album belies its somewhat forbidding title to reveal, like its equally engaging predecessor, music that is lyrical, groove-anchored, gently trippy, and of real depth.

Three members of the quintet which made Disassembler are present on the new album—Warren, saxophonist Mark Lockheart (best known for his work with Polar Bear) and bassist Dudley Phillips. Original drummer (and Polar Bear leader) Seb Rochford has been replaced by Winston Clifford, and trumpeter Loz Speyer by Dave Priseman. The line-up has been expanded by the addition of trombonist Annie Whitehead.

There's no ranting on Fear Is The Mother Of Violence, vocal or otherwise, yet there's no doubt where Warren is coming from politically. Soundbite idiocies downloaded from speeches by Bush and his flagwavers introduce some of the tracks, and the band's attack tends to be more forceful than on the first album. This last quality comes, in part, from having a bigger horn section, in part from the presence of a new drummer—Whitehead's fluent tailgating brings extra depth and funk, and by contrast with the wonderful but elliptical Rochford, Clifford is a solid four-on-the-floor player, albeit one who is agile and light of touch. Throughout the album, Clifford, with Phillips, stays mostly in the engine room, taking care of business.

Warren himself is more prominent than on the previous album, his "distressed" post-Hendrix guitar, artfully blending rock sonics with a jazz sensibility, soloing more frequently and at greater length. The band nonetheless retains its original collaborative structure—all tunes other than the collectively improvised "Fear Is The Mother of Violence" were written by Warren, but all were arranged co-operatively, and solo space is shared equally between guitar and horns. Whitehead makes her entrance felt with vibrant solos on "Waterfall" and "Lowlife."

Most individual solos are accompanied by horn and/or guitar counterpoints for at least part of their duration, and, in several extended passages, distinctions between individual and collective improvisation are blurred. Guitar and horns weave in and around each other with particular effect on the title track and the groove-centric "Jackson Pollock."

Warren, who now spends some of each year in Granada, Spain, in part to get within hailing distance of African and Moorish music, has dubbed local street sounds into some of the tracks. He's also woven snatches of Native American singing into "Love" and Albanian and Mongolian singing into "Fear Is The Mother Of Violence." Jamaican music is referenced in the ska-like feel of the horn arrangement for "Waterfall."

It's usually the more reflective orators who make the most valuable statements. Disassembler's music may have become a little more confrontational, but it remains essentially thoughtful and understated, something the listener has to inhabit in order to enjoy to the full. To do so is to be rewarded. The waters may now be choppy rather than still, but they continue to run deep.

Tracks: Love; Jackson Pollock; Lilly's Great Hope; Fear Is The Mother Of Violence; Waterfall; Lowlife; Precious Times.

Personnel: Trevor Warren: guitar; Mark Lockheart: saxophones; Dave Priseman: trumpet, flugelhorn; Annie Whitehead: trombone; Dudley Phillips: bass; Winston Clifford: drums.

Track Listing:

Year Released: 2009 | Style: Modern Jazz

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