2

Illegal Crowns: Illegal Crowns

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Illegal Crowns: Illegal Crowns Three quarters of the cast on Illegal Crowns comprises familiar faces and frequent collaborators. Cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum and guitarist Mary Halvorson have enjoyed long associations with iconoclastic composer and reedman Anthony Braxton. With the addition of drummer Tomas Fujiwara, they constitute Bynum's Trio and the larger part of The Thirteenth Assembly, whose Station Direct (Important, 2011) was one of the unsung classics of that year. The ringer here is French pianist Benoit Delbecq who, as well as leading his own outfits, presented an acclaimed double trio with Fred Hersch on Fun House (Songlines, 2013).

Together they form a collective of supreme talent, united by a lyrical streak which surfaces even amid invigorating improv rigor. Bynum's astonishing technique is by now a given, deployed with an insouciant aplomb in often understated solos which balance an attractive melancholy tinge with sudden tangential excursions.

Similarly Halvorson possesses a unique voice, creating a spidery web of detuned strums, hokey lines and pitch bending FX. Delbecq, in spite of his renown for piano preparations, sticks largely to the conventional keyboard, combining harmonic acumen with darting clusters and reiterated motifs. Fujiwara proves the unifying force, moving effortlessly in and out of time with a supple yet precise touch, which keeps everything on point.

All four bring songs to the date and composerly insights to their interpretation. The ensembles are often densely layered, as in the Delbecq's opening "Colle & Acrylique," where the pianist's modifications emulate a thumb piano alongside Fujiwara in unusual African-derived sonorities, while Bynum essays a plaintive air and Halvorson provides loose counterpoint.

The mixture of jazzy outbursts, snatches of melody and involved extemporization showcased on the pianist's "Holograms" holds to varying degrees for all tracks no matter who the author. Cuts such as Bynum's "Thoby's Sister" and Halvorson's near title number reinforce the overall impression of an oblique but engaging music in which tunes are glancingly referenced, but nonetheless serve as the ballast anchoring elaborate group interaction and formidable individual improvisation. Such intricacy results in plentiful reward for time invested.

Track Listing: Colle & Acrylique; Thoby's Sister; Illegal Crown; Holograms; Solar Mail; Wry Tulips.

Personnel: Mary Halvorson: electric guitar; Tomas Fujiwara: drums; Benoit Delbecq: piano, prepared piano; Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet, flugelhorn.

Title: Illegal Crowns | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Rogue Art


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Good Merlin CD/LP/Track Review Good Merlin
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 19, 2017
Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Oddara" CD/LP/Track Review Oddara
by James Nadal
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "Words And Music" CD/LP/Track Review Words And Music
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "Expansions  Live" CD/LP/Track Review Expansions Live
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "Moments Captured" CD/LP/Track Review Moments Captured
by Andrew Luhn
Published: May 12, 2017
Read "Lantern" CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Viriditas" CD/LP/Track Review Viriditas
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 14, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.