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With their 10th recording titled Petrophonics, Boston Massachusetts based “Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic” have perhaps achieved the pinnacle of mastery with this truly superb newly released effort. Here, pianist/composer Erik Lindgren and woodwind specialist Ken Field cap off a string of successful solo ventures as the duo realigns with guitarist Michael Bierylo and synthesizer ace Rick Scott for the band’s latest and first effort in over five years.
“BOTM” continues to defy any rigid semblance of categorization yet surge onward with new material and ensemble work that crosses many boundaries as these crafty artisans continually maintain a group sound that is arguably one of a kind. Throughout these well-conceived and expertly performed arrangements, the band pursues airy voicings with a rough hewn edge marked by a few nods to classicism and the finer attributes of – archetypal - progressive rock. Whimsical themes amid Ken Field’s often majestic flute work and Lindgren’s semi-austere chord progressions rekindle thoughts of Erik Satie on the delightful and memorably melodic pieces titled, “Time Marches On Theme” and “Gravity Theme” from the multipart opus, “Music Inspired By 1001 Real Apes”. The musicians sculpt climactic motifs and complex rhythms on the title cut, “Petrophonics”, whereas Field, again performing on flute, blows feathery lines atop heavy handed beats and symmetrical patterns on “The Insidious Revenge Of Ultima Thule – Part 1”.
- No filler material to be found among these energetic pastiches of sound as every track stands on its own in a huge way! And while many of these compositions boast multilayered passages, dynamic rhythms and poignant soloing, the band captures one’s imagination with memorable melodies, crunching ensemble work and truly spirited interplay as the strong writing often spawns wonderment. Ultimately, Petrophonics contains all the earmarks of a timeless classic and one that might rejuvenate the musical spirits from within, as this is one of those rare recordings that imparts a lasting impression. ( Cuneiform Records ) ( Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic ) ( Interview with Ken Field )
Track Listing: 1) Petrophonics 2) Ptoccata II 3) One Hundred Cycles 4) Nevergreen 5) Study Of Unintended Consequences 6) Birdhead 7) Allswell That Endswell In Roswell (Music Inspired By 1001 Real Apes)
Personnel: Michael Bierylo; guitar, programming, sound design: Ken Field; alto & soprano saxophones, flutes, percussion: Erik Lindgren; acoustic grand piano: Rick Scott; synthesizer, sound design and piano (Study Of Unintended Consequences). Additional musicians: Jerry Donahue; percussion (selected tracks): Pacey Foster; turntable (selected tracks): David Greenberger; voice (Gravity Theme): Eric Paull; drums (One Hundred Cycles): John Styklunas; acoustic bass (One Hundred Cycles): Ken Winokur; percussion (selected tracks).
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.