104

What We Live: Never Was

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
“Never Was” was recorded in 1996 and released in 1998 on Black Saint records. “What We Live” primarily operate as a Trio yet frequently collaborate with special guest artists as in the excellent “Quintet For A Day” (see March 99 AAJ review). On “Never Was” Larry Ochs, Lisle Ellis and Don Robinson get back to the nitty gritty in stylistic and impressive fashion.

The excellent liner notes by Art Lange correlate the biographical nature of this recording and how it relates to expressiveness, dialogue et al. Life’s experiences are enacted in somewhat of a dynamic nature as the musician’s convey their viewpoints and emotions through their artistic tools. This well coordinated Trio coexist under a seemingly strong constitution as the music speaks for itself.

On “Will Be”, The improvisation and dialogue among the Trio is loquacious and boundless yet these pieces are constructed with strong rhythmic values or structures. Lisle Ellis (b) and Don Robinson (d) are a magnificent team and here as in many other projects they provide a solid yet potently flexible backbone that is a joy to hear and experience. The composition titled “Were” is a fairly laid back neo-Blues piece, as Larry Ochs conversational Tenor Sax is soulful yet penetrating. Tenor saxophonist Larry Och’s makes every note count through articulate and emotive phrasing. Ochs is a poet or perhaps a storyteller, especially on the duet "Mean Season” where Ochs’ introspective, tender and low key Sopranino Sax work speaks in a subversive tone. Ochs’ utilization of tremolo techniques creates an air of subtle complacency as Ochs represents the ever so humble speaker on the podium supported by Ellis’ sympathetic bass maneuvers, which supplies the faint heartbeat. “ Strength In Numbers” is a polyrhythmic tour-de-force as each musician, through dialogue and thematic statements also provide their own distinct rhythmic structures. The results are extraordinary. Ochs’ probing Tenor Sax lines along with slightly altered yet concurrent rhythms emit the feeling that a large ensemble is performing the music in lieu of a Trio. Here, Lisle Ellis’ Bass solo seemingly retorts Ochs’ imaginative statements. Ochs counters towards the finale. “Even After” is solemn and somewhat spiritual as Robinson commissions his cymbals to provide a pastoral setting and the background colors to counterbalance Ochs’ glib Tenor Sax passages which at times sounds mournful or glum. The effect is real, as the human element rises above the music at hand. The results are astonishing.

Other than “What We Live”, these fellows have enjoyed remarkable careers as either sidemen or leaders in other working units. Their individual accomplishments and track records need no further elaboration here. As a group, “What We Live” is a source of amazement and a tribute to Artistic expressionism as the artist can utilize whatever tool seems suitable in order to convey his or her inner self. “Never Was” is modern art in musical form. **** 1/2

Compositions by Larry Ochs, Lisle Ellis and Don Robinson

| Record Label: Black Saint | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "And Now the Queen - A Tribute to Carla Bley" CD/LP/Track Review And Now the Queen - A Tribute to Carla Bley
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "Pomona" CD/LP/Track Review Pomona
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 16, 2016
Read "Held" CD/LP/Track Review Held
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 13, 2016
Read "Cómo Desaparecer Completamente" CD/LP/Track Review Cómo Desaparecer Completamente
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 13, 2016
Read "A Tribute to Herbie +1" CD/LP/Track Review A Tribute to Herbie +1
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 5, 2016
Read "Have Yourself An Alto Madness Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Have Yourself An Alto Madness Christmas
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: January 21, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!