Following the co-led outing with Greg Osby
that was Sonic Halo
(Challenge Records, 2014), Dutch saxophonist Tineke Postma took a step back from her solo career to raise a family. In the intervening years there were two trio albums with Nathalie Loriers
, but Freya
Postma's debut on Edition Recordsmarks her comeback as a leader. Inspiration comes in various guises on these ten originals, with motherhood, her surrounding landscape and formidable women all firing her creative juices. Pianist Kris Davis
, trumpeter Ralph Alessi
, bassist Matthew Brewer
and drummer Dan Weiss
are equal partners in bringing life to Tineke's visceral, multi-layered, compositions.
With the majority of the tracks weighing in at under six minutes, there is a conciseness and precision to the music. Yet one need look no further than the pulsating opener "Parallax" to discern the freedoms within the well-defined forms that the musicians revel in. Brewer and Weiss' loose yet probing rhythms light the blue touch paper for Postma and Alessi, who switch between playful tail-chasing and more earnest individual flight. Groove and open-ended dialog coexist on "Scáthachs Isle of Skye," with Brewer's driving bass ostinatos and Weiss' constantly evolving rhythmic patterns every bit as alluring as the meaty solos from the front-line pairing.
There is more than a hint of Wayne Shorter
's language on "Aspasia and Pericles," Postma's homage to Aspasia, a significant influence on philosophers such as Plato and Socrates. Postma's lyrical introspection on soprano saxophone, in tandem and then in relay with Alessi, is lent sympathetic counterpoint by Davis on piano. From ancient Greece to ancient Rome, Postma turns to the goddess of women in childbirth for inspiration on "Juno Lucina," where tightly coiled rhythms feed solos of contrasting hues. Saxophonist, trumpeter and pianist then converge in angular, stormy discourse on the outro.
Postma, on soprano, is in scintillating form on "In the Light of Reverence," the passion in her tumbling release in sharp contrast to Davis' more obliquely bewitching turn. There is individual and collective fire on the exuberant "Freya," one of two tracks to feature Brewer on electric bass. The other, "Geri's Print," sees Postma and Alessi dovetail restlessly over a slow-churning groove. Davis once again makes an impression with a mazy solo of measured economy on this tribute to Geri Allen
, who graced Postma's self-produced The Traveller
"Heart To Heart," a slower number that teeters between lyricism and free improvisation, features notable contributions from Brewer, Alessi on muted trumpet, Postma on alto, and the irrepressible Weiss, who toggles between brushes and sticks as the music simmers then boils. "Interlude #1," which sits at the album's midpoint, and the album-closer "Interlude #2," are little more than vignettes, pitting Postma and Alessi together in improvised exchanges as abstract as they are fleeting.
The album artwork is by Chicago artist Chad Kouri, which is apt for music that leans towards the AACM school of jazz/improvised music. Consistently absorbing, Freya
is a welcome comeback album from Postma and a fine one at that. The more one digs, the more the music reveals.
Parallax; Scáthach Isle of Skye; Aspasia and Pericles; In the Light of Reverence; Freya; Interlude #1; Heart to Heart; Juno Lucina; Geri’s Print; Interlude #2.
Tineke Postma: soprano saxophone; Matthew Brewer: electric bass.