375

Josh Berman / Aram Shelton / Weasel Walter: Last Distractions

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Last Distractions is a highly ambitious project, undertaken with just two horns and a drummer—three horns, actually, as reedist Aram Shelton plays two different ones. This trio of Shelton, cornetist Josh Berman and drummer Weasel Walter has set its sights on a determined and inspiring set of improvised music.

The Chicago jazz scene is the inspiration for this trio, as all three made their names in the new milieu of jazz that the Windy City spawned in the 1990s. Walter played with The Flying Luttenbachers and continues with bands such as Burmese, XBXRX, and his namesake quartet. Berman and Shelton collaborate in bands Rolldown and Keefe Jackson's Fast Citizens. Berman is also known for his work in the Lucky Sevens and Chicago Luzern Exchange, and for his superb Old Idea (Delmark, 2009). Shelton plays in the underrated Dragons 1976 (with Jason Ajemian and John Purvis), though he has relocated to the West Coast to study electro-acoustic music.

Last Distractions, recorded in one day, exhibits the band's tendencies toward an investigation and trial approach to sound. They toss sounds together, mixing them between the harsh and the dulcet, the chattering and the hushed, and even the tranquil and the disturbed. The players use multiple approaches; Shelton's soprano hovers between Steve Lacy and Evan Parker (good company for his first soprano recording). "Bandwagon" features Walter's choppy pulse challenging his partners, as Berman responds with crunchy notes à la Don Cherry-meets-Roy Campbell before the piece ends in quiet, minimalist reflection.

Shelton's bass clarinet work deserves special attention; both brash and nuanced. Invoking the music of Eric Dolphy? Certainly; but Shelton, with Walter's woolly and wild drumming, takes Dolphy to a new planet. In fact, Shelton travels to a galaxy of puzzling endgames that sort sounds into a jigsaw of styles, energies and perspectives.


Track Listing: Straw Men; Ad Hominem I; Ad Hominem II, Broadened Issues; Marginalized; The Opposition; Scapegoats; Phenomena; Bandwagon.

Personnel: Josh Berman: cornet; Aram Shelton: soprano saxophone, bass clarinet; Weasel Walter: drums.

Title: Last Distractions | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Singlespeed Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Slægt CD/LP/Track Review Slægt
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 24, 2017
Read An Eye on the Future CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Cherry ‎– Sakura CD/LP/Track Review Cherry ‎– Sakura
by John Sharpe
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Blow, Strike & Touch CD/LP/Track Review Blow, Strike & Touch
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read "Big Man on Campus" CD/LP/Track Review Big Man on Campus
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 7, 2017
Read "Live in Tokyo" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Tokyo
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Gentle Giants" CD/LP/Track Review Gentle Giants
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 29, 2017
Read "Real Feels - Live Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Real Feels - Live Vol. 1
by Mark F. Turner
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin'" CD/LP/Track Review Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin'
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Golan/Al Joulan Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Golan/Al Joulan Vol. 2
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 8, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.