Multi-woodwind expert Steve Lugerner's solo outing for this Lithuania-based progressive/avant-jazz record label enters the market as a limited edition of only 500 LPs. Get them while they last, as some would say. And it's a very distinctive performance, duly capturing the earthy attributes of this all-star lineup's contrasting song forms and extraordinary synergy, clocking in at 32 minutes and recorded with analog equipment.
Drummer Matt Wilson establishes a march-like progression during the album opener, "Us and Our Fathers." Here, trumpeter Darren Johnston escalates the proceedings with his resonating notes to spark a tightly knit vibe that projects clarity of execution amid playful passages within a regimented flow. Wilson kicks it into overdrive with a poetic, medium-tempo solo that restructures the primary melody. With chamber-like moments or offbeat tonal swashes, the program's variable outline skirts avant metrics, spanning austerity and introspection, along with Lugerner's manifold phrasings, executed on an arsenal of woodwinds.
Pianist Myra Melford ignites a delicate ballad on "For We Have Heard," as Johnston's extended notes and animated runs paint a broad backdrop for Lugerner's meticulously rendered lines, often casting a sense of isolation. The band revisits a less-pronounced march motif on "All Those Kings," featuring Lugerner's soulful alto sax choruses and counterbalancing output with Johnston as they engage in a moderately heated dialogue. Meanwhile, Melford constructs a rumbling undertow as the musicians navigate off-course, rendering linear unison lines and odd-metered time signatures. They uncannily articulate a malleable soundscape that proposes an additional source of interest.
Indeed, Lugerner is a wise soul who possesses a deep-rooted artistic persona via his markedly unique compositional style, paralleling his astute leadership.
Track Listing: Us and Our Fathers; When a Long Blast is Sounded; Drove Out Before Us;
Be Strong and Resolute; Before Our Very Eyes; Through Whose Midst We
Passed; For We Have Heard; Up From The Land; All Those Kings; Our
Children in Time
Personnel: Steven Lugerner: Bb clarinet, bass clarinet, oboe, English Horn, soprano
and alto saxophones, flute, alto flute; Darren Johnston: trumpet; Myra
Melford: piano; Matt Wilson; drums.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.