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Bassist Drew Gress and his band Jagged Sky are on target with a dazzling display of technical virtuosity and mind bending self-penned compositions from Gress. There is plenty to sink your teeth into here. Gress has been a major part of the so called New York City Downtown Scene and has sewn some roots with altoist extroadinaire Tim Berne on several outings. Gress and the fine drummer Kenny Wollesen set the pulse for some sparkling creativity by saxophonist David Binney and guitarist Ben Monder. Gress is a fine bandleader, not to mention a killer bassist..
Tunes such as "One-man Mexico" and "Beeline back in the Cage" showcase Binney's soaring and quite lyrical sense of development. Shifting tempos, re-stated themes and at times, segues into dreamscape bliss are quite evident throughout. Monder's high octane lead guitar coupled with Binney's excursions into free-jazz melodic soundscapes are a joy to hear. Difficult unison runs between Monder and Binney add to the excitement.
Drew Gress and Kenny Wolleson sound as though they've been together for decades. Gress exemplifies the skills attributed to a master technician. His compositions are probing and for the most part exhilarating. Great stuff and highly recommended.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.