Recent releases on the independent, “Acoustics” label present the listener with a candid snapshot of the very active modern jazz, new music saxophonist/improviser Mark Whitecage as Moon Blue Boogie is perhaps one of the artist’s finest efforts to date. One of three so called, “extremely limited releases”, here “Mark Whitecage & Eclectic Electric” are caught live at New York City’s “Knitting Factory” and “Cornelia Street Cafe” venues.
No doubt Whitecage has attained a significant or easily discernible comfort zone performing with drummer Jay Rosen, cellist Tomas Ulrich, bassist Chris Dahlgren and woodwind specialist Sabir Mateen as the overall camaraderie and intuitiveness exhibited within these often vibrant encounters will affirm those sentiments. On the first piece, “Moon Blue Boogie - Prayer”, the band emits an underlying and somewhat abstract Ellingtonian type theme, brimming with chromatic scales, frisky dialogue and Ulrich’s zealous soloing and counterpoint techniques.
The thirty-minute opus titled, “Cityscapes Suite” features Mateen’s soulful, penetrating attack in concert with Whitecage’s jagged statements, Rosen’s sweeping flurries and Dahlgren’s multidirectional walking bass lines. Here, the band expands simple blues based motifs amid a plethora of diversionary tactics and hard, free form blowing.
Whitecage’s electronically altered alto sax invokes a stereo effect on Tadd Dameron’s “Good Bait” as the lead soloists playfully annihilate the late composer’s memorable themes with frenzied abandon, whereas the band finalizes the proceedings with Tomas Ulrich’s buzzing and humming free style cello performance on his world music composition titled, “Sizzle”...........Recommended!
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