Multi-reedman, composer and educator Vinny Golia has attained almost legendary status in modern jazz circles, especially on the West Coast. Nation Of Laws serves as a fine example of Golia’s creative vision, astute technical gifts and thoroughly ass-kicking approach to jazz. Here, along with fellow West Coast luminaries, Golia and company pack a mighty punch as they launch a brutal assault on modern jazz with obvious disrespect (being slightly facetious here) for West Coast “Cool” modernism.
“Perfect In The Pocket” serves as a good indicator of what this band is all about. Strong doses of free-jazz, crafty yet abstract electric guitar work by the excellent Nels Cline, compelling group interplay, and high octane sopranino soloing from Golia. “Grampa’s Function” features shifting tempos, rambunctious percussion interludes by Alex Cline and Rob Blakeslee’s darting choruses on muted trumpet. One of the highlights of this CD is the piece titled, “Big Child On The Loose” which commences as a left-of-center rocker featuring some mock, surf style guitar from the ever inventive Nels Cline. Here, Cline juices it up with some good natured tremolo guitar plucking and free-jazz-rock soloing. This rocker veers off into free-improv territory with plenty of interesting moments via varied yet sinuous thematic movements and highly creative improvising. Perhaps this child is a bit mischievous?
On the final track, “Splinter” Nels Cline stretches out over a driving upfront straight four beat as Golia and Blakeslee provide subtle choruses which artfully emphasize the contrasting movements. Here, Golia takes an extended baritone sax solo as the tempo picks up steam toward the finale.
Nation Of Laws is a stellar effort on all accounts and offers just a glimpse of one of the many hats worn by Golia and his seasoned yet estimable associates. Recommended! * * * *
*note - No credits are provided for the compositions.
Vinny Golia; Sopranino, Tenor, Baritone & Bass Saxophones, A & Contra Alto Clarinets: Rob Blakeslee; Cornet, Trumpet & Flugelhorn: Nels Cline; Electric 6 String & Baritone Guitars: Joel Hamilton; Bass: Alex Cline; Drums & Percussion