All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

167

Jemeel Moondoc Trio: Fire In The Valley

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
The primacy of live performance coupled with the reality that there just aren’t that many labels willing to front the bread for creative improvised music has led to a dearth of entries in Jemeel Moondoc’s discography. Studio dates for the saxophonist are a rarity and it’s for this reason that his pairing with Eremite makes so much sense and has proven so fruitful. Eremite’s most common medium is live performance and a large portion of the label’s catalog features music culled from the annual Fire In the Valley Festival. Likewise Moondoc is at his best in the throes of impromptu divination achievable in front of an appreciative audience. Taped direct to two-track six weeks after the session that marked Moondoc’s debut on the label this disc delivers a complete set by the trio replete with encore. A quick four-count by the leader that symbolically breaks the tethers and it’s time for a collective lift off. For the next three quarters of an hour all three players ride the crest of a spontaneously combusting gust of energy that makes the minutes melt away.

Cook and Voigt bustle back and forth between volcanic eruptions and quieter dispersions, and Moondoc’s sound is similarly varied between raw, raucous honks and elongated, emotionally charged lines. Cook works his cymbals and snare like pinball flippers continually buffeting a gleaming percussive ball into innumerable rhythmic nooks and crannies and racking up copious points along the way. Voigt’s method is more manic as he juggles bow and fingers in a continuous rough caress of his strings. His solo near the ten-minute mark makes the fingers ache just thinking about the tensile strength required to pluck such incessantly demanding patterns. For his part Moondoc dances a woolly jig atop the variegated rhythmic verdure liberally adding splashes of his own melodic paint to the collective canvas. At one point saxophone and stringently sawed bass meet in an acrimonious embrace upended by Moondoc’s vocal cries. At another a viscous bass pulse oozes beneath Moondoc’s sprightly upper-register musings and Cook offers terse stick-driven commentary in response. This is a trio so multifaceted in their approach that the possibility of boredom is summarily abolished as soon they raise their instruments. Doubt the veracity of such a claim? Just take a listen. The clamorous ninety-second encore is the proverbial maraschino on top.

Those souls fortunate enough to witness this concert came away with an earful. Thanks to the diligent efforts of Eremite the day lives on and can be marveled at by an audience of global proportions. Here’s hoping that ever widening numbers of these world citizens acquire an awareness of the pearls awaiting them in the translucent depths of this music and decide to take the plunge.

Tracks:Fire In the Valley/ Encore.

Players:Jemeel Moondoc- alto saxophone; Laurence Cook- percussion; John Voigt- bass.

Recorded: July 27, 1996, Amherst, MA.

Eremite on the web: http://www.eremite.com


Title: Fire In The Valley | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Eremite Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read A New Beginning CD/LP/Track Review
A New Beginning
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Onyx Noir - Jazz Works For Brass Quintet CD/LP/Track Review
Onyx Noir - Jazz Works For Brass Quintet
by Gareth Thompson
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Triad CD/LP/Track Review
Triad
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Sketches of American Music CD/LP/Track Review
Sketches of American Music
by Doug Collette
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Three Pictures CD/LP/Track Review
Three Pictures
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Alive In The East? CD/LP/Track Review
Alive In The East?
by Chris May
Published: June 22, 2018
Read "At This Time: Duets" CD/LP/Track Review At This Time: Duets
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 6, 2017
Read "Fresh Air Project" CD/LP/Track Review Fresh Air Project
by Jerry D'Souza
Published: September 30, 2017
Read "Flying Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Flying Heart
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 23, 2018
Read "From Silence to Somewhere" CD/LP/Track Review From Silence to Somewhere
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 21, 2018
Read "Indaco" CD/LP/Track Review Indaco
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: April 9, 2018
Read "Old Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Old Songs
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 5, 2017