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The ShotXShot formula is a simple one. It follows the Ornette Coleman model of group improvisation on set themes, although its music doesn't sound like Coleman's harmolodics. It has a rolling, mellifluous sound, without Coleman's sharp angles. And rather than the sax/trumpet front line of Coleman's classic quartet, it has the twin saxophones of Bryan Rogers and Dan Scofield. But group improvisation is important to the ShotXShot sound in a crucial way: simultaneous soloing gives it a full but casual feel.
Let Nature Square is the group's second release, after a very well received, self-titled live album in 2006. And, if anything, here they sound even more comfortable, more cohesive. Lending to their group-think is the shared writing duties: two of the tracks here are credited to Scofield, two more by drummer Dan Capecchi and one by bassist Matt Engle.
Playing at Jimmy's earlier this spring (a weekly series that sadly, and unceremoniously, just ended), Capecchi proved to be the driving force in the band. The saxophones intertwined, the bass ran counterpoint and the drums pushed from behind. Capecchi came to the band's Philadelphia home base from Minnesota, where he was playing with rock bands. Scofield and Engle, meanwhile, came with the familiarity of having played together in the excellent Sonic Liberation Front.
Film, painting and sports analogies are the clichés of writing about jazz, but ShotXShot invite it, their name being a cinematographic reference (i.e. frame by frame). The scenes they choose are nicely composedestablishing shots and passing conversations, rather than the all too common soliloquies that are the norm.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.