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Pearring Sound: Nothing But Time

Karl Ackermann By

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A protégé—and collaborator—of the late, great pianist Connie Crothers, Colorado native, and Brooklyn resident Jeff Pearring has a wide-ranging background encompassing genre from reggae to classical, to jazz. Beyond a physical resume, it is his relationship with Crothers where Pearring reveals himself to be a voracious student of musical history with an equally insatiable appetite to explore new territory. On his previous self-produced album, True Story (2018), Pearring led a group that included Crothers, on her final studio recording, bassist Ken Filiano, and Carlo Costa on drums. The risk-taking alto saxophonist moves on from that imposing lineup on his new album Nothing But Time.

Master bassist/composer Adam Lane has produced a notable body of work as a leader, over two decades, mostly on the CIMP and Clean Feed labels. His work with leading improvisers such as Ken Vandermark and John Tchicai makes him well-suited to Pearring's openly eclectic style. A novice, by comparison, drummer Tim Ford is just building his resume but has been working with Pearring and Lane for a year and sounds like a seasoned veteran here.

As with his previous release, Pearring and company recorded these nine originals (including a three-track suite), and one cover in real-time. Nothing But Time puts its emphasis on impulse rather than over-refinement and it works well. Lane's pulsing bass misdirects the ears toward bebop on "Plugin Heavy" but Pearring takes the piece in an entirely unique, funky, free-jazz direction. The three miniature movements of "Sci-Fi Suite: To the Stars/Parallel Engines Grind/Interstellar Dust" include spacey, faux-electronic, and unnatural elements in a sequence that suits the atmospheric title. "Talking Outside Time" and "Effective Translation" play like the music of cyborgs—elements that are earthy and alien simultaneously. Duke Ellington's often-recorded "Blue Pepper" takes the original melody on a serpentine ride with Pearring's boldly assertive alto putting an uncommon spin on the piece.

Pearring instinctively controls the flow of these pieces even as he gives the trio a wide creative berth. Lane utilizes every possibility the bass offers and Ford admirably juggles the complexities of the frequently shifting music. The overall sound of Nothing But Time bears little resemblance to anything else. Pearring continues to evolve a hybrid language communicated in interactions between natural sounds and idioms, and the unfamiliar. It's an interesting and engaging collection worth close listening.

Track Listing: Plugin Heavy; Gather and Go; Blue Pepper; Through Step; The March of the Aggressive Pedestrian; Sweet Sci-Fi Suite: To the Stars/Parallel Engines Grind/Interstellar Dust; Talking Outside Time; Sunday; Effective Translation; Plugin Light.

Personnel: Jeff Pearring: alto saxophone; Adam Lane: electric bass, acoustic bass; Tim Ford: drums.

Title: Nothing But Time | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Self Produced

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