All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

17

Jon Irabagon: Inaction is An Action

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Saxophonist Jon Irabagon, a central figure in Mostly Other People Do the Killing, guitarist Mary Halvorson's Quintet and leader of his own trio with drummer Barry Altschul and bassist Mark Helias is one of the most prolific composers and performers in music. Still in his thirties, Irabagon has amassed about eighty recordings as a leader, co-leader or sideman and his portfolio covers the breadth from big band swing to free improvisation. As his career has zig-zagged its way through diverse styles and formations, Irabagon has consistently been like a counter-culture rebel, determined to change and impact the system from within.

With the release of Inaction is An Action Irabagon takes on the solo saxophone traditions of some of his personal influences such as Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Evan Parker and Roscoe Mitchell. There are, however, twists in his approach. Irabagon utilizes the sopranino saxophone; the small sax—tuned to E flat and at an octave above the alto—has a rich resonance comparable to a similarly tuned clarinet. Though the sopranino has been used on occasion by Braxton, Mitchell, Joseph Jarman and a few others, it is a rarity in modern music. The other notable factor here is that Irabagon's eight original composition are highly experimental, closer to investigation of sounds than to melodic compositions.

The album opens with "Revvvv," clipped patterns that seem to be partnered with wind tunnel effects, it's hard to categorize but haunting in its own way. "Acrobat" consists of plaintive wails with the sax seeming to loop around itself; traces of melody only tease and never fully develop. Irabagon coaxes a remarkable range of sounds from the sopranino and on "What Have We Here" the sax literally speaks in a demonic voice. Similarly, "Hang Out a Shingle" adds haunted creaking and percussive effects to its eerie character. "The Best Kind of Sad" and "Ambiwinxtrous" are a bit reminiscent of Sam Newsome's solo soprano work on The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation (Self-produced, 2014) and both unexpectedly devote brief passages to more prolonged melodies. The rapidly paced "Liquid Fire" is loose and uninhibited while the closer, "Alps," is a whisper of sounds until its briefly frenetic conclusion.

The Zen reference of Inaction is An Action is open to interpretation in the context of this collection, but certainly from the perspective of what constitutes music (as opposed to what some would surely classify as noise), the allusion is both valid and challenging. Repeated listening is rewarded by the uncovering of complexity and nuance that may not be obvious at first. Irabagon works at times in near silence, at others in a mechanical din of sounds all while he reaches for the highest and lowest registers imaginable for the instrument. Inaction is An Action is clearly not for the faint of heart, but for those with a more exploratory nature, it is packed with new ideas.

Track Listing: Revvvv; Acrobat; What Have We Here; The Best Kind of Sad; Hang Out a Shingle; Ambiwinxtrous; Liquid Fire; Alps.

Personnel: Jon Irabagon: sopranino saxophone.

Title: Inaction is An Action | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

https://soundcloud.com/bk-music-pr/the-best-kind-of-sad-jon-irabagon
comments powered by Disqus

What Have We Here

What Have We Here

Jon Irabagon
Inaction is An Action

The Cost of Modern Living

The Cost of Modern Living

Jon Irabagon
Behind The Sky

Radio
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Dr. Quixotic's Traveling Exotics

Dr. Quixotic's...

Irabbagast
2018

buy
Behind The Sky

Behind The Sky

Self Produced
2016

buy
Inaction is An Action

Inaction is An Action

Self Produced
2016

buy
Inaction is An Action

Inaction is An Action

Self Produced
2015

buy
Behind The Sky

Behind The Sky

Self Produced
2015

buy
It Takes All Kinds

It Takes All Kinds

Jazzwerkstatt Berlin-brandenburg E.v.
2014

buy

Related Articles

Read Displaced Diaspora CD/LP/Track Review
Displaced Diaspora
by Chris May
Published: October 19, 2018
Read In Real Time CD/LP/Track Review
In Real Time
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 19, 2018
Read Freebird CD/LP/Track Review
Freebird
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2018
Read The Dream Thief CD/LP/Track Review
The Dream Thief
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: October 19, 2018
Read Heuristics CD/LP/Track Review
Heuristics
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2018
Read Subtle Disguise CD/LP/Track Review
Subtle Disguise
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 18, 2018
Read "Magdalena" CD/LP/Track Review Magdalena
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: July 13, 2018
Read "Initial" CD/LP/Track Review Initial
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: April 11, 2018
Read "Hidden Details" CD/LP/Track Review Hidden Details
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: October 15, 2018
Read "Terrestrial" CD/LP/Track Review Terrestrial
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 17, 2018
Read "Undercurrent - Live at Theater Gutersloh" CD/LP/Track Review Undercurrent - Live at Theater Gutersloh
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 9, 2018
Read "Tell Me The Truth" CD/LP/Track Review Tell Me The Truth
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 20, 2018