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Quinsin Nachoff: Flux

Dan McClenaghan By

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Quinsin Nachoff: Flux Saxophonist Quinsin Nachoff sounds right at home on Mythology Records—saxophonist/producer/provocateur David Binney's label. Everything on Mythology has a intensity and modernity, a brashness and in-your-face confidence of delivery, whether it's Binney as the leader, or on sets headed up by pianists John Escreet or Edward Simon, or Quinsin Nachoff.

Flux is Nachoff's debut on the label, a two saxophone front line with piano and drums, and no bass in the mix, in the mode of Vijay Iyer's Fieldwork recordings. And like early Iyer—there's a push and pull between the visceral and cerebral, between jazz and modern classical. But the visceral wins the battle in a close (and probably easily contested) decision in this set of all-Nachoff originals, beginning with "Tightrope," an initially pensive, slightly abrasive tune, featuring delicate, clean piano lines behind flashing knife-blade saxophones—Nachoff on tenor, David Binney on alto. And if the guys have their knives out at first, slashing, they slip into a spitting bullets mode six minutes in, trying to place their popping notes between pianist Matt Mitchell's sparkling note clusters, then moving into a collective chip-on-the-shoulders groove, knives out again.

"Complimentary Opposites" has luminescent gloss, in part from Mitchell's Fender Rhodes—he spices the sound throughout with a variety of keyboards—and in another part from some precision sax work, solo and unison, from the saxophones, tempered by drummer Kenny Wollensen's warm and organic drum work. "Mind's Ear I" opens with Mithcell's craggy piano before the band seques into a reflective, almost mainstream reverie. "Mind's Ear II" begins with an electronic power warble from one of Mitchell's keyboards, and evolves into an ominous warning, Mitchell switching to acoustic piano with a mad dance behind Nachoff's screaming, nightmare saxophone.

Nachoff proves to be a distinctive tune smith, modernistic, complex yet approachable, a guy with a lot to say, with bright future as a bandleader/instrumentalist.

Track Listing: Tightrope; Complimentary Opposites; Mind's Ear I; Mind's Ear II; Astral Echo Poem; Titled.

Personnel: David Binney: alto saxophone; Quinsin Nachoff: tenor saxophone; Matt Mitchell: piano; Fender Rhodes; Wurlitzer, Moog Rogue; organ; Kenny Wollensen: drums, tubular bells; handcrafted percussion.

Title: Flux | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Mythology Records


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