Hanging Hearts pack quite a punch for a trio, a bass-less trio at that. Saxophonist Chris Weller takes the lead on "Return Of Saturn" with guttural tenor, after which an anthemic ensemble melody is established. There's a real sense of jazz rock here, but undoubtedly erring on the side of jazz. Cole DeGenova establishes a keyboard riff on the exuberant "Pilsen" before the band joins in accompanied by Dave King from the Bad Plus on tambourine. Notably, King also produced the album. Just when the listener thinks there's a regular 4/4 groove the time signature collapses, replaced by frenetic free improv interplay before the beat returns once more.
The spacey "Big Bang Anunnini" cranks-up the tension, building layers of echoey keyboard and flying saucer-like stereophonics. Weller brings his wailing, throaty tenor to good effect, juxtaposed against this soundscape. By the fourth track "Jungle Juice" it's clear the band resembles an admixture of influences such as Soft Machine maybe with some later, electric Ornette Coleman thrown in for good measure. Weller's tenor seems also to be channelling the ghost of late, great roaring tenorist Gato Barbieri.
"Creation" and "He Had The Purest Of Intentions" take the mood into less visceral territory with the latter track approaching pastoral dimensions. "June Bug" returns to a heavier sound with some keen tempo changes and snappy vamps. The closer, "Legends" is more doleful than its predecessors and underpinned by Devin Drobka's crackling snare drum.
Into A Myth is the follow-up to 2014's eponymously titled debut album Chris Weller's Hanging Hearts and it's a kicker. Weller's magnificent biting tenor married with lustrous themes makes for intelligent and fascinating fusion for the 21st Century.
1. Return of Saturn, 2. Pilsen, 3. Big Bang Anunnini, 4. Jungle Juice, 5. Creation, 6. He
Had the Purest of Intentions, 7. June Bug, 8. Legends
Chris Weller - tenor saxophone, Cole DeGenova - keyboards, Devin Drobka - drums.
Dave King - tambourine on track 2.
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