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Notch another one for the Document Chicago Series as Scott Rosenberg returns to the Windy City with his saxophones to churn a storm with Jim Baker, Anton Hatwich, and Tim Daisy. All four are responsible for the quartet of compositions on New Folk, New Blues that take collective improvisation into an adventurous sphere. The shifts of time and pulse, the beckoning of melody and the nudge of atonality, the spark of momentum on the edge of ruminationall are illuminatingly present. There isn't a moment when they are at a loose end; the thread of invention moves among the four, whether they weave it together or bring their designs into individual play.
Surprise is another key element in this cauldron of sounds. The players may get off on a melodic tangent, as Rothenberg does on "Sweating Vertebrae Superior Cathedralsm," and then zoom into the sphere of free jazz. Pushing the parameters of his brawny tenor are Hatwich, whose bass roils; Daisy, who shifts the emphasis from snare to cymbal; and Baker, whose analog synthesizer squeaks and squeals and growls. And then the stillness, stirred by the measured single drum beat or the trill of percussion, the wisp of a line on the tenor, the low growl of the synthesizer.
Sound has been taken into different dimensions and in the process it has created a mesmerizing spell. Rothenberg leads the charge when they bring out the "Knives, Swords, Flags." His voice is a commanding presence as his saxophone stamps its authority with big, brawny emphasis that he accentuates with elongated lines and screams and yelps. What gets the appeal bang on is the way Baker sidles in, first laying the melody below the sax and then taking over, swimming in the mainstream with Hatwich and Daisy. Evolution is not complete; a calm descends as the instruments fall gently, the mood an antithesis of what has gone before, yet a perfect fit.
Intense, animated, ardent... and great titles as well!
Track Listing: Sweating Vertebrae Superior Cathedrals; Good Morning, Headache; Knives, Swords, Flags; Laugh Your Troubles Away.
Personnel: Scott Rosenberg (tenor, baritone saxophone); Jim Baker (piano, analog synthesizer, aluminum foil); Anton Hatwich (bass); Tim Daisy (drums)