56

Steve Horowitz: New Monsters

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Horowitz: New Monsters The Posi-Tone label has positioned itself as a distinguished dealer in modern jazz and classy throwback sounds, demonstrating catholic tastes and a willingness to invest in artists of the established and unknown variety. New Monsters, however, doesn't fall firmly into either category. San Francisco bassist Steve Horowitz oversees this outing that features free blowing fantasias and avant-garde musings, yet he understands the importance of finding cohesion in ensemble stability, grooves and repetitive riffs.

While Horowitz plays producer/puppet master, he also plays the straight man. He locks the grooves in place with drummer Jim Bove, while tenor saxophonist Dan Plonsey, who composed the large majority of these pieces, and multi-reedist Steve Adams act as attention-grabbing aggressors. They dominate a good deal of the program with their intriguing lines, zany counterpoint and madcap moves. The final piece of the puzzle, pianist Scott R. Looney, works both sides of the equation, as he works his way into madness with the reeds or falls in line with his rhythm mates.

The album opens with some music that's more playful than purposeful ("Imperfect"). The quintet seems to be torn between two worlds as the rhythm section succumbs to the forces of stasis before the entire band breaks into a section of angular, serial-sounding music ("Mirror Earth"), but they eventually find their niche. After melding the work of reed mavericks John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy on "India/The Red Planet," the band seems to find its footing. Looney's prepared piano plays a prominent role in the success of the simple and groovy "Vision Pyramid Collapse," but it's even more important in the overall architecture of "Miracle Melancholy," which proves to be one of the album's strongest tracks. Adams' flute and Plonsey's tenor saxophone join forces in creating an Asiatic exploration of the macabre, creating tension and uncertainty throughout. Their mid-album winning streak continues with the breezy beginning and far-reaching journey of "Dragon Of Roses" and the engrossing "New Boots For Bigfoot."

While the band wisely keeps these quirky little numbers on the shorter side, the album could have benefited from a bit more editing, with the removal of the few aimless numbers that threaten to taint the work as a whole. Fortunately, this group also delivers more than a few pieces that are highly pleasing in their pursuit of disparate ideals and willingness to branch out beyond the status quo.


Track Listing: Imperfect Life; Mirror Earth; Journey To The East; India/Red Planet; New Monsters; Vision Pyramid Collapse; Miracle Melancholy; Dragon Of Roses; New Boots For Bigfoot; Shattered Silence; Brains For Breakfast; Herald Of Zombies; Cylinder.

Personnel: Dan Plonsey: tenor saxophone; Steve Adams: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute; Scott Looney: piano; Steve Horowitz: bass; Jim Bove: drums.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Vitamina D" CD/LP/Track Review Vitamina D
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Pasar Klewer" CD/LP/Track Review Pasar Klewer
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Fierce Silence" CD/LP/Track Review Fierce Silence
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "The Outlier" CD/LP/Track Review The Outlier
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 17, 2016
Read "Nearness" CD/LP/Track Review Nearness
by Doug Collette
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "Subtle Energy" CD/LP/Track Review Subtle Energy
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 13, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!