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Album Review

Tim Stine Quartet: Knots


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Tim Stine Quartet: Knots
Guitarist Tim Stine leads a democratically oriented quartet with progressive/free jazz Chicago heavyweights, providing a bit of credence to the album moniker since many of these pieces are woven together with incongruent angles and geometrical designs. With false endings, scrappy breakouts and off-metered pulses, the leader's intricate chordal and single note developments assist with maintaining an unpredictable or suspenseful array of unconventional works.

The band occasionally veers off into diametrical and intersecting discourses, often intensified by saxophonist Nick Mazzarella's explosive phrasings. Yet "Trempealeau" is a linear ballad with the frontline's punctual bursts as the band also uses space to regroup or change the parameters via the saxophonist's introspective solo and drummer Quin Kirchner's use of mallets across the kit. Moreover, bassist Matt Ulery's corpulent and fluent lines generate a moveable anchor during much of the production.

There isn't much in the way of melodic content here, but the album opens some windows far as creative musical engineering goes. It's largely about the execution of mind-jarring episodic content, undulating flows and reverse engineering processes. Stine and associates do their best to keep the willing listener on his or her toes. The final track "Kjallstert," features Ulery's deep lines and Stine's fluent and expressive voicings atop Kirchner's swarming patterns. Essentially, the band hits it rather hard and tempers the playing field via the guitarist's nimble leads and dexterous chord progressions, whereas subsequent listens disclose a cluster of previously undetected surprises.

Track Listing

SH8; Knots; Fred Waltzing; Trempealeau; Quietus; Ride Wild Rides; Kjallstret.


Tim Stine: guitar; Nick Mazzarella: alto saxophone; Matt Ulery: bass; Quin Kirchner: drums.

Album information

Title: Knots | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

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