Live At The Open Gate by the quartet of Bobby Bradford, Hafez Modirzadeh, Mark Dresser, and Alex Cline shouts "West Coast" from the drop of the stylus on this, a limited edition (of 500) LP. It's not because the session is from Center for the Arts in Los Angeles 2013, it's because the inspiration here emanates from the West Coast revolution of Ornette Coleman.
Before New York The Five Spot residency, Ornette's sea change in jazz began in Los Angeles with Don Cherry, Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins. This quartet doesn't impersonate those mid-twentieth century giants so much as take its spirit as a catalyst for this date.
Bradford's trumpet (here cornet) graced Coleman's bands in the early 1950s, before being drafted into the service, and again later in the 1960s. He is probably best known for his collaborative efforts with John Carter. His resurgence of late has been a listening pleasure, boosted by last year's release of No U-Turn -Live in Pasadena, 1975 (Dark Tree, 2015). Pairing Bradford with Modirzadeh was a natural, as the saxophonist's merging of Iranian tunings and jazz parallel Ornette's harmolodics. Note: music students, write a paper comparing and contrasting the two.
Backed by bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Alex Cline, the music opens with the slow burn of "Steadfast." Dresser's resting pulse and Cline's sizzling brushwork mark this session as an unworried night of exchange. Bradford and Modirzadeh are natural allies. Their horns interlock and circle each other throughout, from the downtempo blues of "Facet 5" to the bebop inspired "Facet 17," their sound is hand-in-glove. The highlights here are Dresser's brief solo plus his composition "For Bradford," that ascends the Ornette mountain and the quartet's recasting of Bradford's semi-classic "Song For The Unsung" that dances melody over such sweet reverberations.
Steadfast; Facet 5; Facet 17; Dresser Only; For Bradford; HA^BB; Song For The
Bobby Bradford: cornet; Hafez Modirzadeh: alto saxophone; Mark Dresser: bass;
Alex Cline: drums.