360

Jim Black: Dogs of Great Indifference

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Jim Black: Dogs of Great Indifference The fourth Winter & Winter studio release by Jim Black's longstanding AlasNoAxis group is, like its predecessors, remarkably consistent in delivery. The progressions the group makes at times are so subtle from one album to the next that the different recordings can seem interchangeable. But AlasNoAxis soldiers on as part of a brave new tradition, blending the contemporary sounds of indie rock and electronica with jazz improvisation into an organic and satisfying brew.

Black gained initial exposure in the early 1990s with the impressive Human Feel quartet, which featured Kurt Rosewinkel, Andrew D'Angelo and Chris Speed. All the founding members have since gone on to greater acclaim. Since disbanding, Chris Speed and Jim Black have remained core members of each other's groups; Speed's Yeah No most closely mirrors Black's own ensemble.

AlasNoAxis integrates current rock and electronica rhythms, bittersweet pop melodies, lush harmonies and open structures into an impressively seamless fusion. By modulating stock rhythms and altering conventional chord progressions with just a pinch of advanced jazz theory, the players elevate run of the mill structures into multi-layered, careening anthems that are both strident and reflective. Never pedestrian or dilettantish, Black knows the independent underground scene well enough to make crossover music that matters.

Black locks into propulsive, chunky rock groves, but with an ever so slight twist, just enough to keep the rhythm changes and meters fresh. Chris Speed eschews furious linearity and endless sheets of sound for soaring, plangent tenor sax lines which accent the highly melodic nature of the pieces. Dissonant, split-tone texture is used in place of rapid fervency when that kind of energy is required.

Guitarist Hilmar Jensson weaves gauzy, ECM-ish sheets of atmospheric sound during ethereal moments, but he can dirty it up like any Brooklyn-bound son, spraying waves of thick distortion and dropping fuzzy augmented power chords when the time is right. Skúli Sverrisson's bright-toned electric bass is the rhythmic and melodic fulcrum around which the ensemble gravitates, and his precise timing is the beacon that keeps them earthbound.

Black's group does not veer far from its previous sound or conceptual outlook on this release, but for those already swooning over the future of electro-acoustic improvisation, Dogs of Great Indifference is as good as contemporary "fusion" gets.


Track Listing: Oddfelt; Dogs of Great Indifference; Tars and Varnish; Spins So Free; Star Rubbed; Harmstrong; Everybody Says the Same; You Know Just Because; Desemrascar; Harmsoft; I Am Seven.

Personnel: Jim Black: drums; Chris Speed: tenor sax; Hilmar Jensson: guitars; Sk

Title: Dogs Of Great Indifference | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Winter & Winter


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roll On CD/LP/Track Review Roll On
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Pandora's Bag CD/LP/Track Review Pandora's Bag
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Float The Edge CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 25, 2017
Read The Attic CD/LP/Track Review The Attic
by John Sharpe
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Outside The Comfort Zone CD/LP/Track Review Outside The Comfort Zone
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "New Spring - Live At The Village Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review New Spring - Live At The Village Vanguard
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 8, 2016
Read "Western Edges" CD/LP/Track Review Western Edges
by John Sharpe
Published: July 2, 2017
Read "Free World Music" CD/LP/Track Review Free World Music
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 31, 2016
Read "Presence" CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 13, 2017
Read "Alpha Nebula Expanded: The Monster Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Alpha Nebula Expanded: The Monster Peace
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 17, 2016
Read "Natural Language" CD/LP/Track Review Natural Language
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 9, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!