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Confusion Bleue: East Side Banquet

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "Movement III"

Luminously recorded at East Side Studio in New York City, the superfine Confusion Bleue band reemerges with a sterling exposition, centered upon its democratic, but largely cohesive free-form manifesto. The musicians present a resonating group-centric sound, aided by Lee Pembleton's exquisite audio-engineering via a consortium of gusty improvisations and swirling breakouts. With rapidly-moving pulses, keyboardist Nobu Stowe often steers or provokes the variable theme-building components, transferring to a rather inspiring group dynamic.

"Movement III" is one of seven "Movement"-titled pieces, highlighting the group's synergy and fluently enacted on-the-fly design mechanisms. Asymmetrical parts foreboding and playful, Stowe and trumpeter Brian Groder energize matters from the get-go. Injected with cascading events, the artists' yearning lines and vivid use of counterpoint augments the linear passages, stippled by drummer Ray Sage's fractured swing grooves and offbeat accents.

Stowe tosses in a few classical overtures and avant R&B fragments, as he switches from acoustic to the Wurlitzer electric piano during the bridge. Thus; he conjures an alternating viewpoint, leading to the finale, where geometric flurries and an orbital gait may yield semblances of a steadily expanding loop. Moreover, guitarist Ross Bonadonna outlines the perimeter with a brisk melody, surging toward the garrulous finale.

For the avant-gardist or progressive jazz aficionado, the musicians offer a significant alternative to the tried and true. As they explore the freer realm with a cogently stylized mission statement that combines a many-sided and highly impressionistic approach, abetted by unanticipated surprises and the occasional paradigm shift. (Passionately recommended...)

Track Listing:

Personnel: Nobu Stowe: Steinway Grand Piano, Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric piano; Ray Sage: drums; Ross Bonadonna: electric and acoustic guitars, alto saxophone and bass clarinet; Lee Pembleton: sound. Special guests – Brian Groder: trumpet; Lisle Ellis: double bass, acoustic bass and “bass & circuitry.”

Title: East Side Banquet | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Ictus Records

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