The fourth release by Barry Altschul
's 3Dom Factor, Long Tall Sunshine
, evokes (in a weird way) the lyrics to "Helter Skelter" by The Beatles:
"When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and I see you again."
We're not talking the Charles Manson thrill kill angle of Helter Skelter, more like his very organized mayhem. Altschul together with saxophonist Jon Irabagon
and bassist Joe Fonda
maintain a structured, almost methodical maelstrom in their music that straddles the line between composed and free jazz.
Given these three artists, that helter skelter is not surprising. Altschul's history with freedom included stints in the 1960s with Paul Bley
, before Circle with Chick Corea
, Anthony Braxton
and Dave Holland
, and also with the Sam Rivers
Trio and Quintet. He also maintained the long standing FAB trio with Joe Fonda and Billy Bang
(1947-2011). Fonda's creative output can be heard in The Fonda/Stevens Group, Gebhard Ullmann
's quartet Conference Call and his work with pianist Satoko Fujii
. A generation younger than his partners, Jon Irabagon is the Swiss army knife of reedists. After winning the 2008 Thelonious Monk Competition, he was best known as a member of the upstart Mostly Other People Do The Killing ensemble before venturing out on a solo career and member of Dave Douglas
' Quintet. Irabagon's association with Altschul began with the earth-shaking tenor/drums duo Foxy
(Hot Cup Records, 2010) and has grown into this solid trio.
Irabagon applies his best mixture of the DNA of Sonny Rollins
and Pharoah Sanders
on the opening two tracks, "Long Tall Sunshine," and on "The 3Dom Factor" the trio engineers a hard bop collision with free jazz. With Fonda's hand on the pulse, the guardrails, as illusory as they seem, are maintained. This allows both Irabagon and Altschul to radiate energy. That control of a seemingly uncontrollable freedom is what makes this trio special. "Be Out S'Cool" flinches like a cross between an Ornette Coleman
and Thelonious Monk
composition with Irabagon switching between tenor and soprillo saxophones. Fonda's solo here and on the finale "Martin's Stew" are woody and chest-gripping performances. The latter composition opens with Altschul's solo, one that is a most organized helter skelter. Another reason that you will get to the bottom and go back to the top for another ride.
Long Tall Sunshine; The 3Dom Factor; Irina; Be Out S’Cool; Martin’s Stew.