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Brian Charette: Kurrent

Friedrich Kunzmann By

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The density of new releases and their voluminous level of innovation and experimentation in the current New York jazz scene is somewhat remarkable. The usage of Synthesizers, programming and bending up to completely dissolving compositional structure, as ever so often exemplified by Mary Halvorson, are experiments more and more frequently encountered every day.

Leading jazz organ voice Brian Charette finds his rightful place among these evolutionary artists and proves this once more with his newest Circuit Bent Organ Trio on Kürrent. Having reached #17 on the Jazz Week chart with his demonstration of the more standard organ trio model on 2016 outing Once & Future for Positone Records, he now turns to a less conventional treatment of trio composition and instrumentation.

Accompanied by similarly progressive guitarist Ben Monder and up and coming drummer Jordan Young, Charette creates his most candid record to date. Drenched in atmospheric synthesizer layers and typically delay intensive comping by Monder, the trio lays a foundation for most adventurous notions.

The opener "Doll Fin" is the exemplary show piece of the concept described afore. A pulsating drum beat in 5/4 opens the stage, letting cloudy synth-layers create the space for ironically syncopated 8-bit staccato patterns. Smooth guitar lines replace the synthesizer and lead the soundscape into mesmerizing spheres. Like "Doll Fin," most compositions on "Kürrent" reveal a binary structure, which manifests itself in melodic counterpoint, dynamics and instrumentation. Not unlike a prolonged musical period, such as found in classical music, one can observe two complementary melodic phrases based on one alternated motif. In order to further contrast one phrase from another, the musicians work different colors into their instruments by adding more drive on the part of Monder, switching back and forth between organ and synthesizer and designing polyrhythmic counterpoints on drums.

Ben Monder's unusually high use of distortion in synergy with wildly rapid scale runs, as displayed on the "Schooby's Riff" or "Mano Y Mano" among others, comes especially striking. Adding a supplementary dimension to the already wide array of ideas, the record doesn't stop there but further extends in ambition with the introduction of sampling and vocoder effects. Interlinking the gripping flow of the great variety of pieces presented here, three short intermezzi of improvisational nature present themselves throughout and round off the edges.

Amongst the current outings of modern experimentation in jazz, Kürrent might not be the most flamboyant or forward thinking one, in terms of completely deconstructing the basic notion of a song, but gracefully combines a multitude of compositional approaches in interplay with thoughtfully original arrangements, leading to a homogeneous whole. Here's hoping this trio goes at it once more in the near future.

Track Listing: Doll Fin; Time Changes; Mano Y Mano; Intermezzo 1; Honeymoon Phase; Schooby's Riff; Intermezzo 2; Conquistador; 5th Base; The Shape of Green; Intermezzo 3; Catfish Sandwich.

Personnel: Brian Charette: organ/electronics; Ben Monder: guitar; Jordan Young: drums/electronics.

Title: Kurrent | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced

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