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Creative music is a much bandied-about term. Creativity lies in the imagination of its creators. The Monktail Creative Music Concern comes out of Seattle with enough steam in its collective mind to gratify both in the depth of its intensity and the expanse of its musical ambition. The concern has around 20 musicians floating in its ambit, but it is a core eleven-piece band that fires up the interest on this, the MCMC’s debut album.
The music was improvised live in the studio with tracks 5 and 6 based on graphic scores from John Seman and Mark Ostrowski respectively. The band works both levels well, instant improvisation bringing to the fore the understanding that has developed between them. They essay the permutations and extend the direction of the music with a sparkling array of ideas. On the plateau of the scores, the music throbs with the vigour they stoke it with.
Take “Cantometrics to Cotton.” A deep swirling begotten through keyboards, horns, percussion, and then the saxophones which eddies the body strongly into a whirlwind. The flute counterpoints, the trumpet slivers the atmosphere, drums and bass throb at the bottom. Sound has been escarped, fragmented, made complete in the assemblance of the brass, for a tumultuous explosion. When they go in for “Air Room,” the interplay is tightly knit. There is a depth-charge, a potent sense of urgency that ignites the music. The pulse is set in motion by the trumpet and then the saxophone comes in to loop the lines. Stephen Fendrich ministers calm on the piano, but only for a while until the whole fires up again.
The group takes up a nice change of pace and view on “Whisper Skin,” a ballad that gets its lifeblood from Ahamefule J. Oluo, not only on the trumpet but from the hybrid trump-bone as well. The song does get heated along the way but it is a seamless extension and they even get into swing without losing a beat. The music grabs—and if this is what it is to be, more power to the MCMC.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.