The “Mark Whitecage Trio” packs a mighty punch on Fractured Standards & Fairy Tales - “Live on Tour in TOURS Vol. 1”. A limited edition release on the independent “Acoustics” label, the musicians weave noticeable elements of whimsy with subtle EFX induced treatments along with piping hot interplay and cunning improvisational speak. On the twenty-minute opener and title track, the band investigates complex rhythms amid metamorphic style grooves and sweeping undercurrents as Whitecage renders blistering lines whether performing on clarinet or alto sax.
The band engages in a quasi-blues ballad during the opening moments of “Suite Albert” yet pick up steam thanks to Whitecage’s gritty yet explosive choruses on alto sax. Here, you might surmise that the artist’s horn was padded with sandpaper! Essentially, the band takes off into the ozone as this piece evolves into a boisterous free jazz motif, marked by bassist Dominic Duval’s punishing lines and drummer Jay Rosen’s polyrhythmic blitz. On “French Medley”, Rosen and Duval perpetuate a maddening swing pulse while Whitecage injects brief doses of humor along with a few conspicuous quotes and a hearty nod to Albert Ayler-esque marching band/free-jazz type delirium. Throughout, the musicians pursue a polytonal canvass of variegated motifs and invigorating rhythmic sequences. However, it’s not all about technique and bravado, as the “Mark Whitecage Trio” should be counted among the improvisational elite! Recommended.
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