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Where does one find one's muse? Jason Robinson (tenor saxophone), Michael Dessen (trombone), Scott Walton (bass) and Nathan Hubbard (drums), who band together as Cosmologic, found it in jazz, in improvised music, in classical tangents, and in their own palpitating imaginations. They have has been together since 1999 and have forged a strong bond over that time. Their perspicacity and ability to capture the unusual gives their music a rather exceptional focus.
Cosmologic weaves jazz harmonies in the freer atmosphere of improvisation. It is a seamless passage, but the road is strewn with a welter of bristling ideas. "The Rumpus" is a lively opener, with Robinson and Dessen serving up a rousing intro, the former veering slightly from the main thrust. The saxophonist comes on bold and brawny in his solo outing, turning his notes up and over, then stinging with short blasts. It's a performance of staggering proportions as Dessen lets his well of ideas swell with bristling runs and swing, while his fine sense of time and delivery add to the texture.
The title track shows how the band works to give the music a masterful touch. Dessen and Robinson set up a symmetrical linear movement and then diverge but, far from breaking the mould, their disparate movements are a logical extension and create an electrifying atmosphere. After the punch comes the calm with a middle section possessing a classical wit; the horns cool and the bass setting up a deep arco. Then it's back to whirling lines, the air now heady with spiraling motifs.
Cosmologic does not let the written note be the guiding light. Their sense of juxtaposition dictates the course. Flow and chaos are consonants in constant flight that are navigated by surprise, and the band documents this consummately, making Eyes in the Back of My Head a stirring listening experience.
Track Listing: The Rumpus; Eyes in the Back of My Head; Dreams of an Alternate Future/ Remembering the Past; Face in the crowd; Code View; Theme for Darfur; The Apex is the Whole; We Kiss in the Shadow on the Other Side of This.
Personnel: Jason Robinson: tenor saxophone; Michael Dessen: trombone; Scott Walton: bass; Nathan Hubbard: drums.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...