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Alvin Fielder / David Dove / Jason Jackson / Damon Smith: From-To-From

Eyal Hareuveni By

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This quartet represents a meeting of generations and their approaches to jazz and improvised music. The quartet resembles such early free jazz units as the New York Art Quartet or the Archie SheppRoswell Rudd Quartet. Veteran drummer Alvin Fielder—the eldest member, with an encyclopedic knowledge of modern jazz drumming—is known for his extensive collaborations with saxophonist Kidd Jordan, bassist William Parker and trumpeter Dennis Gonzalez; double bassist Damon Smith studied contemporary music and free improvisation with renowned bass players Lisle Ellis, Bertram Turetzky and Peter Kowald; trombonist David Dove is the director of the Houston—based Nameless Sound educational series, which focuses on improvised music; and the youngest member, saxophonist Jason Jackson, studied with Dove.

The music of the quartet draws inspiration from ancestral bebop, the fiery and spiritual free jazz of the sixties, and open-ended free improvisation, still with a contemporary touch and feel, without attempting to replicate influential outfits. Parker, who wrote the insightful liner notes for the album, refers to the quartet 's artistic output as "creative music," meaning "music that procreates itself in performance to create an entity greater than its seed... music that is informed by all music that exists, known and unknown."

Parker's description, obviously, is accurate. The four musicians operate within the language of free music; the freedom to use all sounds, pulses, textures and colors, but without attachment or any need to be bound by them—just to interact together in the moment, putting their egos aside to be there for the greater, unifying music and to feel its spiritual power. The 20-minutes title piece follows this approach beautifully. The music flows intuitively, rhythms morph and change organically, with powerful interplay that supports the spontaneous, muscular music 'til it possesses all the musicians, gaining more volume, colors and nuances—taking risks, but still always gravitating into an infectious, swinging pulse.

"Which Way Is Out?" is indeed the most "out" piece here. It features the quartet in a sonic journey into unknown and uncharted territories, through inventive extended techniques, an imaginative and insistent search for new sounds and timbres and open-ended collaborative textures, patiently forming common ground. "B,B,B'S x 6/8" leaves similar space for personal improvisation but is anchored with Fielder's steady pulse. The last piece, "Q.D.," summarizes the quartet's aesthetics—nurtured by the extensive legacy of jazz in the last century, but not held captive by any genre, tradition or method.

Simply, as Parker notes beautifully, using freedom as a vehicle for creativity, a means to create powerful, uplifting music.

Track Listing: Ut. Dict.; From-To-From; Which Way is Out?; B,B,B'S x 6/8; Goodtime FFA; Q.D.

Personnel: Alvin Fielder: drums, percussion; David Dove: trombone; Jason Jackson: alto, tenor and baritone saxophones; Damon Smith: double bass.

Title: From-To-From | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Balance Point Acoustics


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