10

Michaël Attias: Nerve Dance

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Michaël Attias: Nerve Dance 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.

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

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read The Crave CD/LP/Track Review The Crave
by John Sharpe
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub) CD/LP/Track Review Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub)
by Joe Gatto
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965 CD/LP/Track Review Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965
by Doug Collette
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "More Figs And Blue Things" CD/LP/Track Review More Figs And Blue Things
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "Richie Cole Plays Ballads & Love Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Richie Cole Plays Ballads & Love Songs
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 25, 2016
Read "IIII+IIII" CD/LP/Track Review IIII+IIII
by James Nadal
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "Echoes Of Europe" CD/LP/Track Review Echoes Of Europe
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 26, 2017
Read "Instrumental" CD/LP/Track Review Instrumental
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 10, 2017
Read "Copenhagen Live 1964" CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 30, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.