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Irish guitar wiz Mark O'Leary's relentless pursuit of melding his improvisational expertise with some of the top guns in the jazz-based business continues here during this trio setting recorded in Seattle, Washington. On this 2008 studio set, the musicians quietly surge into abstract-minimalism via the free-improv route. With O'Leary's harmonically appeasing volume control techniques and fluid single note flurries, the overall musical portraiture is often fabricated upon subtle exchanges amid delicately articulated peaks and valleys.
Pianist Wayne Horvitz also employs a prepared piano in spots while drummer Dylan Van der Schyff primarily serves as a colorist due to his gently paced cymbal swashes and asymmetrical pulses. Much of the program contains probing dialogues among the players. But O'Leary occasionally steers the band into bluesy motifs, underscored with ethereal implications. Yet the piece titled "Verdant," is partly about variable rhythmic metrics, subdivided into call/response dialogues and topped off with O' Leary's breezy lines and a carefree stride.
Ultimately, the band purveys mood-evoking sentiment, although there isn't much variance when considering the sum of the parts. And in some instances, the novelty wears a bit thin, especially during the third segment of the album. However, they manage to conjure up elicit imagery that might spark notions of a tranquil nature setting. Either way, the music iterated throughout does parallel the implications set forth by the album's title, although the thematic fluctuations bring about a calming effect.
Track Listing: Entrance; Be Careful What You Might Wish For; Vacant; Contextual; Vadalfjoll; Beyond The Abyss; Verdant; Flux; Evolution; Cantus; If You Ask Me; New England Memories; Pensive; Other Room
Personnel: Mark O'Leary: Guitar; Wayne Horvitz: Piano/Prepared Piano; Dylan Van Der Schyff: Drums/percussion.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.