Expat Canadian drummer Franklin Kiermyer's sublime and passionate Further is a cohesive work that is both transcendent and crackles with a visceral vitality. The album revolves around themes that are inspired by saxophonist John Coltrane's late career explorations but the Oslo-based Kiermyer and his band are not mere impersonating devotees. They imbue every tune with originality and a brilliant and imaginative urgency.
The centerpiece of the recording is "Between Joy & Consequence," with its two takes. Pianist Benito Gonzalez opens the first with chiming, hypnotic keystrokes ushering in Kiermyer's thunderous beats laced with bassist Juini Booth's dark reverberations. Over this bubbling cauldron saxophonist Azar Lawrence bellows out an ardent, devotional paean, thick with vibrato and thrilling dissonance. Gonzalez's own turn in the spotlight adds an earthy and primal dynamism to the music as he crafts his solo out of percussive chords and angular notes.
The second version of the piece is more dramatic and expansive. Lawrence is more reserved but no less assertive as he punctuates Gonzalez's shimmering lines with blues tinged shouts. The breathtakingly complex and potently emotive spontaneous rhythm section conversation concludes the track.
Kiermyer also explores eastern motifs on "Bilad el-Sudan" (which is the Arabic term for sub- Saharan West Africa) and on "Maftir." On the former Lawrence's soprano soars and flitters over the roughhewn and stimulating harmonic constructs of his band mates. His lyrical, ethereal tone weaves a pastoral and reverent tale of mystical yearning. Gonzalez laces the song with western sensibilities with his agile acrobatic improvisation.
The latter launches with Kiermyer's sparkling, serene cymbals before Lawrence's fiery blistering tenor stylings enter. Gonzalez's clear, dense sonic cascade hints at the Zen tranquility of flowing water. Booth's strings waver and dance in intriguing patterns in Lawrence's eloquent and fervent gale and Kiermyer's stormy roar.
With Further Kiermyer has expanded upon his previous achievements to create a luminous work of sophisticated expression and spirited, poignant turmoil. The seamless blend of the provocative and the sacred is exquisite and borders on perfection.
Between Joy and Consequence (live); Bilad el-Sudan (live);
Astrophysical; Supplication; Maftir; Between Joy and Consequence; The
Other Blues (live).
Franklin Kiermyer: drums; Azar Lawrence: tenor and soprano saxophones;
Benito Gonzalez: piano; Juini Booth: bass.
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