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Jason Stein/Paul Giallorenzo/Frank Rosaly: Hearts & Minds

Mark Corroto By

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When the Chicago trio of Jason Stein, Paul Giallorenzo, and Frank Rosaly, known as Hearts & Minds, plays music Sun Ra smiles from somewhere interplanetary. Not that the mighty Ra favored small groups, he mostly worked with his large Arkestra, rather, it's that the wellspring for this 21st century music are his concepts and instrumentation. Sun Ra's saxophonist John Gilmore, then later Robert Cummings, employed a bass clarinet as Jason Stein does here. Drummer Frank Rosaly juggles varied and complex rhythms, plus applies electronics. Keyboardist Paul Giallorenzo does as well, playing synthesizer and the vintage E-pianet, an electro-mechanical piano.

Chicago is a prime location for Hearts & Minds. From the 1940s through 1960, Ra's concepts on futurism and music bloomed on the South Side as he resolved that space was the place. The mayhem of the opening track "Stocky" clangs overblown bass clarinet against fevered and frenetic drumming and the electric jabs and blips of keyboard sorcery. The trio, having caught your attention, dives deeper, mixing composed passages with sometime barely repressible passages. The trawling "Rocked And Eroded" stakes itself to the memory of Eric Dolphy's sound on Out To Lunch! (Blue Note, 1964), with Stein marching notes to the odd meter of Rosaly's gallop.

We have, though, come a ways since the days of Dolphy. The trio turns to the pinwheeling of electronics with "An Unfortunate Lack Of Role;" Giallorenzo's e-pianet forcing glints and flashes of current as re-entry sounds over Rosaly's swarming sounds on every percussive surface at hand. The trio is fond of starting a piece like "Streaming" with a solid melody and groove, breaking into concise Stein and Giallorenzo solos. Other times, as on "Nick Masonry," they work from just a sketch only to pick up steam and melody. Mostly they are fans of a glorious degeneration, you might call improvisation, but we'll call interstellar entropy.

Track Listing: Stocky; Rocked And Eroded; The Western Situation; Three For One; An Unfortunate Lack Of Role; Models; Streaming; Nick Masonry; Irresolute; Old Balance.

Personnel: Jason Stein: bass clarinet; Paul Giallorenzo: synth, e-pianet; Frank Rosaly: drums, electronics.

Title: Hearts & Minds | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Astral Spirits

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