In an interesting move, Mark Nodwell – who is more than an accomplished saxophonist – places his instrument aside to bring his role as a composer in to play. Interesting because he detaches himself from direct involvement, but no matter. The quintet he chooses to express his vision rises to the challenges, moulds the music and leavens it with high energy and resonant impulses.
Nodwell spins tales of varied hues. His imagination unravels the skein in different directions, from minimalism to swing to free expression, and sets up a groundswell that can rise slowly or explode in the first instant. Nodwell gives form a lot of content but there is one tune that rises from a free trajectory, bringing in an unusual twist to the tale of its composer. On “Flight of the Pterodactyl,” Ron Miles squawks on the trumpet, Drew Gress bows lines askew, Khabu Doug Young gets his guitar in to feedback drive. Once the flutter has passed, the tune soars gloriously on a Middle Eastern melody. Art Lande makes the sparks fly, bringing in an infectious joy through his spirited dynamics on the piano before Young returns to rock with hard lines and bent notes.
The pastoral “Dream Time (Epilogue)” stands in contrast. Miles introduces floating lines, Gress complements him with some deep bowing and Young lets the notes fall in gentle refrain, clean and beautifully delineated. The group strikes a nice balance in the scheme of the music on “Resurrection,” a pretty tune that floats becomingly, marked as it is by the harmonic fibre woven by the players. Nemesis is a captivating mosaic of sound and pattern.
I love jazz because it swings.
I was first exposed to jazz in Houston.
I met Joe LoCascio and Bob Henschen.
The best show I ever attended was Pat Martino.
The first jazz record I bought was Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
My advice to new listeners is to relax on 2 and 4 beats.