266

Chicago Underground Trio: Flamethrower

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
For the Chicago Underground Trio, anything goes. On Flamethrower, swinging jazz wanders in and out of an otherwise very free field. The opening track, for example, starts with a six-note bass groove. Jeff Parker steps in for a crisp, swinging guitar solo, then the ensemble gradually travels into free jazz territory. Punchy clusters replace clean lines, and the drumming moves into a pounding fourth gear. Just as soon as the noise started, it evolves back into the opening groove, and the band returns from their trip out.

With the addition of electronics, the group adds another level of complexity. Occasional grinding, pulsing, and chirping tones serve as an ever-evolving backdrop for instrumental improvisation. While the Trio (which on Flamethrower becomes a quartet with the addition of guitarist Parker) relies upon shock and surprise for much of their effect, they also entertain cohesion and subtlety for contrast.

The group appears just as much at home in sparse free improvisation as it is in composed unison lines over swinging rhythm. Cornet player Rob Mazurek can serve up a thick, warm melodic voice or a shrieking, warbling blowout depending on the situation.

This is not background music: it's serious stuff. Compositionally, the tunes on Flamethrower are demanding. Improvisationally, the element of unpredictability always rears its head when you least expect it. Flamethrower is creative work at the edge of the in & out continuum—music that requires the listener to pay attention and participate.


Track Listing: Quail; Fahrenheit 451; Warm Marsh; Antiquity; Flamethrower; Woman In Motion; Triceptikon; A Lesson Earned; Arcweld; Elroy; Number 19; 504; The Tungflec Treaty; The World Has Changed; Elray.

Personnel: Rob Mazurek: cornet, electronics; Chad Taylor: percussion; Noel Kupersmith: bass fiddle, electronics; Jeff Parker: guitar, electronics.

Title: Flamethrower | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Delmark Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Signal 9 CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017
Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "My Foolish Heart" CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 3, 2017
Read "Piano Song" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "The Day After" CD/LP/Track Review The Day After
by David A. Orthmann
Published: February 14, 2017
Read "Rhythmic Movement" CD/LP/Track Review Rhythmic Movement
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 22, 2016
Read "Unification" CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 12, 2017
Read "Right Up On" CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 12, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.