10

Michaël Attias: Nerve Dance

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Methodical design, rough-and-tumble play, and thoughtful exchange are often viewed as mutually exclusive concepts in jazz. Saxophonist Michaël Attias' Nerve Dance, however, obliterates that line of thinking and any potential obstacles that could separate those realms. This is a work that's cultured, contumacious, and conversational in nature. It's principled art unbound.

Nerve Dance introduces a new quartet that consistently exhibits certain traits while also presenting differently from angle to angle and piece to piece. In many places, it's a mighty foursome that triumphs by putting near-equal emphasis on compositional rigor and free thinking. Attias, pianist Aruán Ortiz, bassist John Hébert, and drummer Nasheet Waits often build strict designs with completely open floor plans, essentially allowing for freedom within designated spaces. The album opener—"Dark Net"—is as good a song as any to display that wonderful contradiction. Bass and melody are intertwined and the entire piece develops as an orgiastic corkscrew, twisting (or bounding) from side to side in wondrously punchy fashion. There's never any doubt that the framework is solid, but the interior spaces are difficult to measure and define. "Scribble Job Yin Yang," part of a collection of pieces that Attias wrote on the New York City subway, puts the same line of thinking into a free bop mindset. Think Bird on an unhinged wire. And "Dream In A Mirror" does much of the same with Ornette Coleman's "Clergyman's Dream," creating a reflection in minor that serves as a threnody to one of jazz's major figures.

Numbers like those tend to get the synapses firing fastest, but even the most measured material on the program has a way of making dendrites dance. "Moonmouth," for example, is controlled but unsettling, and Hébert's balladic "Rodger Lodger" manages to delight with an underlying shimmy-shake. Both are proudly paradoxical in nature, nodding to intellectual curiosity and certitude at the same time. This may be the most pliable and self-assured quartet to emerge in recent times. It's certainly one of the most creative. Nerve Dance manages to operate equally well on visceral and cerebral planes. It's a musical livewire that provides joy to the ears and a jolt to the system.

Track Listing: Dark Net; Nerve & Limbo; Scribble Job Yin Yang; Boca De Luna; Moonmouth; La Part Maudite; Le Pèse-Nerfs; Rodger Lodge; Dream In A Mirror; Ombilique; Nasheet.

Personnel: Michaël Attias: saxophone; Aruán Ortiz: piano; John Hébert: bass; Nasheet Waits: drums.

Title: Nerve Dance | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Profiles
Album Reviews
Read more articles
échos la nuit

échos la nuit

Out Of Your Head Records
2019

buy
Nerve Dance

Nerve Dance

Clean Feed Records
2017

buy
Live In Greenwich Village

Live In Greenwich...

Clean Feed Records
2016

buy
Spun Tree

Spun Tree

Clean Feed Records
2012

buy
 

Renku in Coimbra

Clean Feed Records
2010

buy
 

Byzantine Monkey

Jazz Messengers
2009

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
May25Sat
Outer Space Caravan
Barbes
Brooklyn, NY
$10

Related Articles

Read Trion Album Reviews
Trion
By Dan McClenaghan
April 22, 2019
Read LE10 18-05 Album Reviews
LE10 18-05
By Jakob Baekgaard
April 22, 2019
Read After the Rain: A Night for Coltrane Album Reviews
After the Rain: A Night for Coltrane
By Jakob Baekgaard
April 21, 2019
Read Cadillac Turns Album Reviews
Cadillac Turns
By Troy Dostert
April 21, 2019
Read A Pride Of Lions Album Reviews
A Pride Of Lions
By John Sharpe
April 21, 2019
Read Sunburst Finish Album Reviews
Sunburst Finish
By Glenn Astarita
April 21, 2019
Read This Should Be Fun Album Reviews
This Should Be Fun
By David A. Orthmann
April 20, 2019