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Llama Records is a new jazz improvisation label out of Lexington Kentucky. Here, pianist Raleigh Dailey teams with mega-talented trumpeter Peter Evans, cited for his work with the young and insanely hip Mostly Other People Do the Killing band amid high profile stints with saxophonist, composer John Zorn and guitarist Mary Halvorson as the list goes on. Hence, this improvised program is a study in brazen contrasts. Simply put, they intensely explore fertile landscapes as virtually nothing seems out of scope or outside their realm of innovation.
With trickling dialogues, menacing cadenzas and swirling exchanges at an often dizzying pace, the duo proposes a myriad of invigorating thematic constructions. A good portion of the agenda is framed on a sense of urgency. At times, they trigger notions of trying to evade a hostile area by eliciting imagery of dour circumstances. And on "What the Bird with the Human Head Knew," Dailey navigates through the lower registers via haunting chord clusters as he conjures imagery of exploring a dimly lit passageway. However, these aspects bleed into the following track "Deathmask," where Evans' sweet-toned lines and raspy intonations combine moments of angst and beauty. At various cadences, the duo melds ethereal free-jazz grooves with evocative sketches, tinted with microtonal treatments. However, the sum of the parts cast a vibrant rhythmic perspective, exercised with numerous currents and off-center detours.
"An Ax for the Frozen Sea" is a piece where Evans' strange vibrato embouchure projects pathos and yearning sentiment, countered by some hearty wailing as the musicians gel to a sequence of oscillating movements. Moreover, they uncannily convey an electronics-shaded sound, while Dailey forges a harrowing mindset with dark voicings and a staggered rhythmic flow. In sum, the musicians operate like an idea factory. It's one of those freely improvised outings that will seize your attention from start to finish.
Track Listing: Spiffle; We Begin (Again); Third Invention; What the Bird With the
Human Head Knew; Deathmask; End, Middle, Beginning; Ax for the Frozen
Sea; Where We Are; Now.
Personnel: Peter Evans: trumpet; Raleigh Dailey: piano.
I was first exposed to jazz while learning to play chess with my uncles. They would play smooth jazz, and then switch up to more standard types of jazz. But, when they played Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, I was
hooked and I haven't looked back.