For a two-decade stretch beginning in 1971, free jazz drummer Barry Altschul was positioned among the most in-demand percussionists. He made his mark in the fleeting but important group Circle, with Chick Corea, Dave Holland and Anthony Braxton. Among the many cutting-edge artists he worked with were Andrew Hill, and Paul Bley. And then, for almost twenty years, the virtuoso musician/composer all but disappeared. Altschul re-emerged with The 3dom Factor in 2013, and the drummer is once again a prolific force. Long Tall Sunshine is the 2021 outing from the trio of Altschul, saxophonist Jon Irabagon and the great bassist Joe Fonda.
In the late 1970s, Altschul, saxophonist Sam Rivers and bassist Holland were documenting the probing energy of the improvisational trio, captured years later on Reunion: Live in New York (Pi Recordings, 2012). The drummer has retained an adherence to that open approach with The 3Dom Factor, and the discourse is consistently refreshing. After an explosive opening on the title track, Irabagon goes airborne on "The 3Dom Factor." The fourteen-minute, teeth-rattling improvisation is eventually softened by Fonda's elegant but edgy bass solo. "Irina"a frequently recorded Altschul favoriteis all Irabagon with serene, serpentine lines and stylish twists. "Martin's Stew" was covered on the trio's previous live recording Live in Krakow (Not Two Records, 2019) and is again guided by Irabagon's assertive, piercing saxophone.
Much of Long Tall Sunshine is challenging, but it is driven by emotion, sometimes at its most raw. The lack of a chordal instrument places much of the movement in the hands of Irabagon, but the saxophonist doesn't obscure the contributions of Fonda and Altschul. Long Tall Sunshine is a compellingly performed collection from a fine trio.
Long Tall Sunshine; The 3Dom Factor; Irina; Be Out S’Cool; Martin’s Stew.