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Olie Brice / Rachel Musson / Mark Sanders: Immense Blue

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Olie Brice / Rachel Musson / Mark Sanders: Immense Blue
Even given today's abundance of new issues in whatever genre, there are still bands which travel beneath the radar. One such is the trio of established UK improvisers comprising bassist Olie Brice, saxophonist Rachel Musson and drummer Mark Sanders which releases Immense Blue as its debut album. As a unit it has been around for a while, but the connections go deeper still. Brice and Musson have a duet nearing fifteen years old, while the saxophonist and drummer are two thirds of Shifa, the outfit completed by pianist Pat Thomas.

However, it is Brice and Sanders who possess the most illustrious backstory, having gelled into a compelling and in demand rhythm section documented with the likes of Polish reedman Mikolaj Trzaska and ICP alumnus Tobias Delius as well as Portuguese trumpeter Luis Vicente. This all means that not only are these three superlative performers, but they also share a chemistry which heightens their responsiveness, trust and interaction to remarkable levels. All that can be heard in the near-hour-long program presented here, containing three collective inventions culled from a concert in north London's Vortex in October 2022.

An impressive presence, Musson imparts her throaty-edged lines in an authoritative tone, harnessing the power of repetition and expressive distortion as she morphs between being an integral part of enthralling textural exchanges and definitely being the out-there lead voice. Each member embraces that same dichotomy. In some ways Brice grounds the ensemble, offering a solid base and a wiry resonant narrative rather than experimentalism, while Sanders' work is crisp, dynamic and detailed, whether shading or propelling. Together the interplay is riveting.

Even in a practiced co-operative ethos, the near-telepathic way they make room for one another is telling. Consider the start of "Stretched Polyphone," launched by Brice's electrifying arco swipes, Sanders' percussive coloration and Musson's blurts and murmurs. Every sound earns its place within a spacious dialogue, but does so without crowding out any other....or at least not until they choose otherwise.

It is also possible to discern form within the taut give and take. One instance occurs in the first half of the same title, as Musson pursues the alternation between ribald bellows and muted whinnies as a motif, to which she continually returns as the piece develops. Through an organically evolving tangle of timbre, pitch and pulse they explore every feasible permutation in the line-up to create a wonderfully potent set of free jazz.

Track Listing

Jump The Hidden Balcony The Air; Stretched Polyphone; Hollow Circel And Round Edge Scream.

Personnel

Olie Brice
bass, acoustic
Rachel Musson
saxophone, tenor

Album information

Title: Immense Blue | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: West Hill Records


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