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While spending several years in New York City, guitarist Bill Horvitz (Wayne Horvitz’ brother) performed with new music renegades such as John Zorn, Elliott Sharp, Bill Laswell, Shelley Hirsch, Eugene Chadbourne and many others. Currently, Mr. Horvitz exhibits his creative juices in Northern California while managing to delve into a variety of frameworks and settings, yet his Trio featuring ROVA’s woodwind virtuoso Steve Adams and the estimable drummer, Joesph Sabella have been on the receiving end of praise for quite some time now. With Dust Devil, Horvitz fronts a compact unit that gushes with artistic expressionism while providing an abundance of good-natured fun along the way.
Pieces such as “Busy Mind” and “Watch Your Back” explode with choruses that at times, could be derived from a Beethoven opus as the musicians seemingly mangle, deconstruct and transform these themes into hard edged free-jazz and/or jazz-rock motifs. Needless to state, Horvitz appears to be an astute student of the classics. - With that and prominent doses of rock-funk backbeats, abrupt shifts in tempo and spirited soloing by Horvitz and saxophonist/flutist Steve Adams, the band playfully reworks melodies and improvises atop well-structured compositions. Throughout, the guitarist burns both ends of the candle whether rocking out with fuzz-toned distortion or displaying deft and often complex single note, jazz-based runs. On “Watch Your Back”, Adams punishes his soprano sax while embarking on a fleeting solo excursion amid Joseph Sabella’s sinewy yet flexible rhythmic support as the absence of a bassist is barely noticeable thanks to Horvitz’ mid-toned harmonics and lower register picking. The composition titled, “Tic” boasts a free-rock type groove amid a – stop and go – motif while the band settles down on the Caribbean influenced “Guadeloupe”.
Along with a few tasty spurts of semi-controlled mayhem, the musicians offer the complete package while exploring areas that many would consider a bit unique or divergent for this type of “new music” – power trio – format. Here, the restless spirit and thirst for ingenuity prevails as Dust Devil is a welcome surprise and a jubilant listening experience! Highly recommended.
* * * * ½ (out of * * * * *)
Bill Horvitz; Guitar: Steve Adams; Soprano, Alto & Tenor Saxophones, Bass Flute: Joseph Sabella; Drums
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I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.