Bassist Andrew Vogt's engaging EP, the entirely improvised For Free, serves as a teaser for two of his upcoming 2017 recordings. The tracks on For Free are from the same sessions that resulted in the above mentioned The AV Club and Awakening, but they are not included on either of them.
The spontaneously created music is not, like many other collective blowing sessions, filled with unbridled energy and dissonance. It is indeed quite accessible with overlapping hypnotic refrains that logically create captivating moods and ambiences.
The wistful "Morning Mourning" is a solemn trio piece. Pianist Stu Mindeman and drummer Christian Euman deftly utilize silent pauses in their respective performances to a haunting effect. Mindeman's flowing lines and Euman's soft rumble coalesce around Vogt's eloquent and lyrical solo. Mindeman concludes with darkly hued chords that express western classical influences.
On the tender and poetic "Ballerina's Footsteps" saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi and trumpeter Quentin Coaxum echo one another leading to a mystical atmosphere. The simmering rhythm section, with guitarist Hans Luchs joining Vogt, Mindeman and Euman, adds a dramatic edge. Laurenzi's tenor emotes with melancholic elegance over the sextet's percolating vamps.
Not all the tunes are introspective, indeed some bristle with an electrifying passion. "The Storm" for instance features saxophonist Rajiv Halim letting loose brassy tones and honking notes over Euman's thundering beats. Mindeman contributes sparse, resonant chimes with his percussive pianism. Meanwhile Vogt and guitarist Matt Gold perform the melody with a soulful swagger.
Elsewhere on the stirring "Finding Freedom" Vogt, together with keyboardist Andrew Lawrence, guitarist Anders Nordstrom, and drummers Zack Marks and Ryan Roberts lays down a taut and funky groove. Saxophonists Corbin Andrick and Sam Hudgens play acerbic and fiery phrases that meander through the band's throbbing vamps.
Although For Free does whet the appetite for Vogt's two upcoming records it is more than a mere sampler or preview. The seamless synergy and the stimulating dynamics of the groups as well as the superb musicianship and artistry of all involved make it a superlative and stand-alone work that makes for a rewarding listen in its own right
Track Listing: Stu Thang (Crosswalk); Ballerina's Footsteps; Y.B.W.H.; Morning Mourning; Finding
Freedom; The Beast Within; Invocation; The Calm Before...:,The Storm.
Personnel: Quentin Coaxum: trumpet (1,2,6); Corbin Andrick: alto sax (5,7,8); Rajiv Halim:
alto sax (1,2,6,9); Dustin Laurenzi: tenor sax (1,2,6); Sam Hudgens: tenor sax
(5,7,8); Stu Mindeman: piano (1-4, 6,9); Andrew Lawrence: keyboards (5,7,8);
Hans Luchs: guitar (2); Matt Gold: guitar (1,3,6,9); Anders Nordstrom: guitar
(5,7,8); Andrew Vogt: bass (1-9); Christian Euman: drums (1-4, 6,9); Zack Marks:
drums (5,7,8); Ryan Roberts: percussion (5,7,8).
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