199

Paul Hemmings Trio with John Tchicai: Letter From America

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
The Paul Hemmings Trio with saxophonist John Tchicai mixes some styles around on Letter From American, and still comes up with a cohesive set of sounds.

"Under a New Mexico Sky" opens the disc with a sludgy rhythm behind John Tchicai's raw, loud saxophone. It sounds like Led Zeppelin, circa 1969, especially when guitarist Hemmings roars in like an amplified band saw.

Tchicai is normally tagged as an avant-garde guy who played on an early avant blast—John Coltrane's Ascension (Impulse!, 1965). But here he sounds accessible, if brash and in-your-face.

"Venice Beach Boardwalk" has a surf music, island vibe, Tchicai's fiery saxophone burning in front of the laidback rhythm. "The Battle of New York City" has a rumble in the alley atmosphere, with Tchicai and Hemmings trading roundhouse blows. "A Conversation in Central Park" features chirping bird sounds, reminiscent of Maria Schneider's "Cerulean Skies" on Sky Blue (ArtistShare, 2007).

"Code Red" is a highlight, with Tchicai's horn sounding haunted as it blows around Hemmings' noodling guitar, inserted samples and loops twittering. It's a bleak, foreboding, insistent sound. The effects, here and elsewhere on the CD are deftly done, enhancing the atmosphere.

The rock-informed Letter From America possesses some ragged edges and a visceral feel with some free jazz shadings, making it an excellent from-the-gut outing.

Track Listing: Under A New Mexico Sky; Radio Free America; Venice Beach Boardwalk; The Battle Of New York City; A Conversation In Central Park; Lady Dynamite; The Pollock Galaxy; Ous Ous; Code (Re)d; Under A New Mexico Sky (Reprise).

Personnel: John Tchicai: tenor saxophone; Paul Hemmings: electric guitar, loops, effects & samples; Gaku Takanashi: upright and electric basses; Adam Issadore: drums, percussion).

Title: Letter from America | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Leading Tone Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Rev CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "Tyrant Lizard" CD/LP/Track Review Tyrant Lizard
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 2, 2017
Read "Sinatra & Jobim @ 50" CD/LP/Track Review Sinatra & Jobim @ 50
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 30, 2017
Read "A Handful Of Songs" CD/LP/Track Review A Handful Of Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "Après" CD/LP/Track Review Après
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 29, 2017
Read "With You In Mind" CD/LP/Track Review With You In Mind
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: August 12, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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