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Album Review

Mark Segger: Lift Off


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Mark Segger: Lift Off
This Canadian band throws almost everything imaginable at the studio walls in synchronous fashion. And while the album may be classified as an EP, due to its 29-minute length, quality is the underlying factor throughout. Based out of Edmonton, Segger started this band via its first album, The Beginning (18th Note Records, 2011). Nine-years later, the sextet extends its resume with this high-impact and compelling release, brimming with gobs of counterpoint, sizzling free-form detours and complex modal narratives.

Along with some fragmented Ornette Coleman-framed inferences dispersed throughout, the band engages in some Herculean workouts. However, "Cluttertone News" begins with a chamber-like motif, highlighted by bassist Rob Clutton's thick notes, agile chord soloing and streaming arco passages, shadowed by the hornists' misty undertones. Yet they fire it back up during "For the Bees," where they produce a big band style arrangement driven by unorthodox unison choruses, disfigured motifs and sweltering cadenzas. Here, pianist Tania Gill's lower register voicings underscore the band's ominous overtones as they dish out blood-curdling and discordant subplots, leading to some merriment towards the finale.

The band's tensely articulated mosaics of sound are often woven into a whole in animated fashion. Otherwise, variety is a key factor. For example, on "One Note" the artists engage minimalism amid atmospherics with elongated notes and rests in between, contrasted by the soloists' mild call and response activities and fluctuating extended (one note) lines. In a nutshell, Segger is a highly musical drummer and may teach us progressive jazz aficionados a few tricks as the band often gets to the point in whirlwind fashion with the utmost precision and gusto.

Track Listing

Lift Off; Cluttertone News; For The Bees; #18; ....; One Note; Slow Motion; Bassline.


Mark Segger: drums; Jim Lewis: trombone; Heather Saumer: trombone; Peter Lutek: saxophone; Tania Gill: piano; Rob Clutton: bass, acoustic.

Album information

Title: Lift Off | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Self Produced

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