Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
170

Jim Black and Axis No Axis: Dogs of Great Indifference

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Jim Black and Axis No Axis: Dogs of Great Indifference Trying to describe the texture of music is a bit of a vulgar theology. But the imperfect metaphor of texture is nevertheless the only way to discuss Jim Black's most recent release with Axis No Axis, Dogs of Great Indifference. It is an electric soundscape one might think of hearing on Hearts of Space. The core of this tactile-aural experience is formed by the leader, a drummer, with bassist Skuli Sverrisson and guitarist Hilmar Jensson. They lay down the craggy grit over which saxophonist Chris Speed conjures his reed alchemy. Black's beats are mostly simple rock backdoor bombs, occasionally smothered in polyrhythms. This results in music of simple complexity—easy to listen to, until you listen too hard.

Speed, usually a well-behaved soloist, goes unhinged on pieces like the disturbing "Tars and Vanish. Black stirs the pot while the saxophonist slowly injects a horrible truth serum, driving the piece to its violent end. "Spins So Free is a brief, nervous dream highlighting Sverrisson's arco bass. "Spins abruptly spins into the relentless "Star Rubbed, featuring Speed's meandering tenor floating over a structure reminiscent of the Police, circa Regatta de Blanc (1979). The tracks insinuate themselves into one another. Chris Speed, a level above the texture of the rhythm section, summons sounds from the Middle and Far East, dovetailing with Jensson's electric guitar. The saxophonist serves at the anchor of the recording, keeping everything just a bit askew.

Dogs of Great Indifference is that rare brand of music one can eat with a spoon. It is of a droning sort, highly improvised with minimal form. As such, it does not tax the open-minded listener. With so much bad fusion music available, it is nice to find some fresh, clean musical sand to walk on. After so many fine and enjoyable recordings, perhaps we are becoming spoiled to the genius of Jim Black. I hope to see many more.

Visit Jim Black on the web.


Track Listing: Oddfelt; Dogs Of Great Indifference; Tars And Vanish; Spins So Free; Star Rubbed; Harmstrong; Everybody Says The Same; You Know Just Because; Desemrascar; Harmsoft; I Am Seven.

Personnel: Chris Speed: tenor saxophone; Hilmar Jensson: guitars; Skuli Sverrisson: basses; Jim Black: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Winter & Winter | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
Profiles
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
[no cover]
Antiheroes
Telarc
2013
buy
Houseplant
Houseplant
Winter & Winter
2009
buy
Dogs Of Great Indifference
Dogs Of Great...
Winter & Winter
2006
buy
Habyor
Habyor
Winter & Winter
2004
buy
Splay
Splay
Winter & Winter
2002
buy
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
Brad Mehldau Brad Mehldau
piano
Dave Douglas Dave Douglas
trumpet
William Parker William Parker
bass, acoustic
Albert Ayler Albert Ayler
sax, tenor
Paul Motian Paul Motian
drums
Nels Cline Nels Cline
guitar, electric
Marc Ribot Marc Ribot
guitar
Tim Berne Tim Berne
saxophone

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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