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

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Winter & Winter | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Pathways CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Landing CD/LP/Track Review Landing
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Words And Music CD/LP/Track Review Words And Music
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Faces CD/LP/Track Review Faces
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves CD/LP/Track Review Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves
by Duncan Heining
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Bring Joy" CD/LP/Track Review Bring Joy
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "Duet" CD/LP/Track Review Duet
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 30, 2016
Read "Fake It Until You Make It" CD/LP/Track Review Fake It Until You Make It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 17, 2016
Read "The Intergalactic Thing" CD/LP/Track Review The Intergalactic Thing
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 1, 2016
Read "Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau" CD/LP/Track Review Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2017
Read "On Ceremony" CD/LP/Track Review On Ceremony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 17, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!