105

The Nommonsemble: Life Cycle

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
The Nommonsemble: Life Cycle Drummer Whit Dickey is a master at timekeeping without keeping time. His playing on Life Cycle generally reflects a preference for color and pattern, leaving the pulse implied and understated. Of course, it must be made clear that this record is nominally credited to the Nommonsemble collective, a quartet of strong musical personalities. But Dickey composed the tunes and produced the record, so his fingerprints are all over Life Cycle.

The suite of tunes on this record draw from fundamental emotional frequencies, pieced together with a master organization in mind. But within this environment, each player gets a chance to participate in the process of development and transformation. "Games," for example, launches off with pure improv, each player contributing short phrases in pointillist fashion. As the piece develops, a pattern emerges and the piece ends up acquiring a playful, though occasionally tense, feel. Part of that tension comes from the open playing field, where a certain tug-of-war persists among these strong musical personalities. Pianist Matthew Shipp, for example, thrusts sparkling treble flurries into the mix about halfway through, daring the other players to step into the hailstorm and interact. A moment later, the lightning passes on and the group returns to its twisty democratic demeanor. A rise-and-fall tide of energy appears regularly throughout Life Cycle, particularly on pieces like "Love," where it integrates with a gentler whole.

Despite interspersed moments of high emotional density, most of this record reflects a certain kind of subtlety which implies more than it states. This kind of atmosphere is a perfect place for viola player Mat Maneri to perform his string calligraphy; or saxophonist Rob Brown to sail in the higher register. And Dickey is in his element here: rarely keeping time (though he does exactly that on "War," which emerges in military lock-step), preferring instead to lend an occasional accent or two and explore patterning through short repeated phrases. It's notable that this quartet lacks a bassist, which places more demands on its members, and allows them more freedom to perform an open give-and-take. With the talent on this record, it's nearly impossible to go wrong—and Life Cycle ends up a victorious performance by four towering players. Compared to Dickey's debut as a leader, this disc (though nominally a collective, but influenced heavily by his ideas) stands head and shoulders above.

Visit AUM Fidelity on the web.


Track Listing: Wonder; War; Games; Love; Acceptance; Transformation.

Personnel: Whit Dickey: drums; Rob Brown: alto sax, flute; Mat Maneri: viola; Matthew Shipp: piano.

| Record Label: AUM Fidelity | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Accortet" CD/LP/Track Review Accortet
by John Sharpe
Published: May 25, 2016
Read "Super Petite" CD/LP/Track Review Super Petite
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 17, 2016
Read "Heritage" CD/LP/Track Review Heritage
by James Nadal
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "Oddara" CD/LP/Track Review Oddara
by James Nadal
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "Prick of the Litter" CD/LP/Track Review Prick of the Litter
by Doug Collette
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Forgive and Forget" CD/LP/Track Review Forgive and Forget
by Edward Blanco
Published: January 9, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!