13

Black Diamond: Mandala

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
This Chicago-based quartet projects a raw and vibrant soundstage, nicely balanced with breakneck speed unison lines and introspective dialogues, topped off by tenor saxophonists Artie Black and Hunter Diamond's hearty choruses. They dig deep, yet on burners like the swiftly executed bop piece "Rudy's Mood," they dish out briskly executed unison lines, leading to hyper-mode frameworks, shrewdly contrasted by a sense of openness. Hence, the band doesn't clutter things up with tireless soloing escapades. Basically, the saxophonists effectively pick their spots while letting the music breath.

"Jacunda" opens with cheery sax phrasings as the frontline frames the primary theme, surging into breezy and pungent overtures. Here, drummer Neil Hemphill's peppery and darting drum patterns and bassist Matt Ulery's malleable bass passages underscore the leaders' odd-time signatures and dynamic shifts in tempo, as the band morphs into several bars of sprightly improv. However, "Mandala" is a laid-back blues, tinted with drifting qualities.

The quartet launches "Clay Feet" with an animated motif, anchored by the saxophonists' sonorous extended notes. Yet Ulery quietly drives the momentum via his smooth and quietly thrusting support. Moving forward, the musicians alter the flow and punch out the main theme with forceful accents while reassembling the principle melody with a more pronounced Latin-jazz groove. They also segment or modulate the pace towards the coda. In sum, Artie Black's strong compositions and clever arrangements provide a strong foundation for the artists' engaging improvisational activities.

Track Listing: Jim Jam on the Veranda; The Middle Way; Rudy’s Mood; Eleanor & Rufus; Jacunda; Mandala; Village Within the City; Clay Feet; Little Melody.

Personnel: Artie Black: tenor saxophone; Hunter Diamond: tenor saxophone; Matt Ulery: bass; Neil Hemphill: drums.

Title: Mandala | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Shifting Paradigm Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Bright Yellow with Bass CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "A Dark and Stormy Day" CD/LP/Track Review A Dark and Stormy Day
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 1, 2017
Read "In Praise of Shadows" CD/LP/Track Review In Praise of Shadows
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "Sektion 3-7" CD/LP/Track Review Sektion 3-7
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Aspiration" CD/LP/Track Review Aspiration
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 5, 2017
Read "Lookin' East" CD/LP/Track Review Lookin' East
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Meditations on Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Meditations on Freedom
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 11, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.