Chris Pitsiokos / Javier Areal Velez / Kevin Murray: First Blush

Mark Corroto By

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Chris Pitsiokos / Javier Areal Velez / Kevin Murray: First Blush
Was this gig at New York's Downtown Music Gallery in January, 2020, a one-off performance? Saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos was scheduled to perform solo, probably to promote his extraordinary solo release Speak In Tongues (Relative Pitch, 2019), but chose instead to expand to a trio. And a new trio at that. This wasn't one of his recent trios with Max Johnson and Kevin Shea, Noah Punkt and Philipp Scholz, or Daniel Levin and Brandon Seabrook. Nor was it his expansive CP Unit, which has some excellent recordings on Portugal's Clean Feed Records.

The magical combination for this performance includes the Argentinian guitarist named Javier Areal Velez and drummer Kevin Murray. The trio's 1-track, 21-minute performance brings to mind the 1980s punk rock legends Minutemen. Not so much musically, but metaphysically. Velez is a member of several improv-noise- post-punk outfits including Calato, Coso, and el helicóptero. Murray will be heard on the upcoming William Parker multi-disc release coming in early 2021. Minutemen is mentiond because Pitsiokos' trio skates upon an gritty edge throughout the set. His alto saxophone sound can be described as that of a young John Zorn with a dash of Roscoe Mitchell. Skittering and incendiary notes are fired by both saxophone and guitar over the feral drumming of Murray, sounding not unlike a blender mix of Paal Nilssen-Love and Chris Corsano. By now, adventurous listeners need no introduction to Pitsiokos; it is through the combination of musicians that makes for the combustible nature of this recording.

Track Listing

First Blush


Chris Pitsiokos: saxophone; Javier Areal Velez: guitar, electric; Kevin Murray: drums.

Album information

Title: First Blush | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: 1039 Records

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