Tilting Curvaceous is all-of-a-piece, s0nic 0penings' instigator and extraordinary alto saxophonist Patrick Brennan informs us, emerging from a single "meta-groove interface," to be heard whole. That may come naturally to fans of creative improvisation since the breakthroughs of Ornette Coleman, say, and new constructions by composers including Cecil Taylor, the Art Ensemble Of Chicago, Henry Threadgill and Brennan himself.
However, as presented in 14 distinct tracks, this album is also a suite of inter-related movementsseparate, comparable, able to be curated for play lists or broadcasts. Taking to it in smaller bits first may be if not the best way nonetheless inevitable, as we follow along one moment to the next. Identifying the parts of a complex/compound entityeven if, blind, we're feeling an elephantactually does help us get the shape of an unfamiliar entirety, which Tilting Curvaceous, though of an established tradition, may yet still be.
So here are elements contributing to and reflected in this greater whole: The dense urban milieu of downtown New York City, where highest skill levels, quickest wits and social adaptability are key to an individual's survival as well as their expressive productivity. The freedom artists take to explore possibilities envisioned in their personal alternatives to conventional order. The hearts and minds of five wide-ranging, experienced, colorfully imaginative instrumentalists making their ways forward together, spontaneously and intuitively through protocols employed for generative qualities. Playfulness, humor, irony, devotion and sensitivity to the collective ideal.
To hear this ensemble state a striking connective cell, go directly to "Tilting Curvaceous 8." The muscular rhythm team of Hilliard Greene and Michael TA Thompson holds strong while the horns of brennan and trumpeter Brian Groder duet fiercely in "3." Pianist Rod Wilson unfolds a second melodic cell in "4"Brennan and Groder blow in syncopation against it in "6." "9" is restrained, deliberate and emotionally evocative. "10," the longest exploration here, is akin to a narrative, turning on Thompson's fine drumming.
Throughout, the players like quantum particles weave together, split apart, reunite or remain at distances but mysteriously entangled To try to absorb the universe of Tilting Curvaceous all at once challenges our ears as our eyes would be if we were instructed to "see" simultaneously every facet of a diamond and the trajectories of its refractions. The effort is futile but we stretch for it, as if entranced by a spinning globe, seeking its far side.
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