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Kevin Brow: Koptor

Mark F. Turner By

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Koptor by Canadian drummer Kevin Brow is in some ways similar to film noir— at times overcast, others times bursts of vividness, flowing in music that is stylistically intriguing. But there is plenty of substance here with clarity and definition, imprinting music that incorporates detailed compositions and free invention.

Convincingly hip, thoughtfully astute, the music is the sound of modern jazz without its constraints—swing with and without the typical time signatures, unexpected solos in and out of the pocket and interlocking themes such as the "New Koptor" suite based upon Brow's geographical music influences from New York, Copenhagen, and Toronto.

With all original material Brow's music is expressed by an exceptional band, names synonymous with leadership in improvisational music: bassist Eivind Opsvik, pianist Jacob Sacks, and Rob Mosher on saxophone and English horn. Each brings something special to the table and serves up impressive performances—Sacks' free flight spiral on "How Does Water Flow," Mosher's evocative alto sax in the dramatic "Jeg Gjorde Det I Forgars," or Opsvik's glutinous and sinewy bass throughout each piece.

An accomplished technician, yet one with heart and fire, Brow's drumming is the recording's pulse, one that oscillates within various lively patterns. With deft scissoring he provides not only the backbeat but also complex rhythms in "Maske I Overmorgen." On "Outer Spokes Center Hole," he navigates dual movements between straight and oblique lines as the music reinvents itself. A spotlight shines on Brow's trap work on the curtain call of "Kobs Mejkr," an intricate and developing drum solo that is richly detailed with several qualities while the band gradually builds upon the tune's mysterious path.

A rhythmic sweet spot can be found in "Underground," a tune girded by Opsvik's uncomplicated bass and Brow's stealthy cadence that gives Mosher and Sacks the freedom to explore new ideas. It is that fine quality—the ability to become like elastic glue, stretching yet holding the music—that makes Brow a noteworthy drummer.

Track Listing: Frograbbit; Maske I Overmorgen; How Does Water Flow; Outer Spokes Center Hole; Underground; Imaginary Lines; Black Bear; Jeg Gjorde Det I Forgars; First New Koptor; Second New Koptor; Third New Koptor; Kobs Mejkr.

Personnel: Kevin Brow: drums; Eivind Opsvik: bass; Jacob Sacks: piano; Rob Mosher: alto saxophone, English horn.

Title: Koptor | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

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