238

Samuel Blaser Quartet: Pieces of Old Sky

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Samuel Blaser Quartet: Pieces of Old Sky Swiss-born, Berlin-based trombonist Samuel Blaser is a musician to watch. He has a unique and personal vision, imaginative scope of articulation, and an ability to communicate and surprise with his sonic discoveries and ideas. This excellent new recording, his best so far, impresses more with every listening.

The album was recorded in New York with three forward-thinking collaborators—guitarist Todd Neufeld, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, the same trio that collaborated on Sorey's recent masterful Koan (482 Music, 2009). Blaser's original compositions are arranged as a suite that moves between delicate, soft declarations and forceful, energetic outbursts.

The title piece sounds like an extension of the sessions of Koan. This 17-minute opus has the same spiritual quality, where open-ended, ethereal improvisation with nuanced and fragmented abstraction has an intense power and magical beauty. The spare and introspective interplay sounds thoughtful but at the same time has a haunting, emotional intimacy. Two short selections, "Choral I" and "Choral II," that punctuate the more energetic pieces, continue in the same vein, as afterthoughts of the title piece.

Other pieces feature evolutionary progressions of the compositional innovations of Charles Mingus and sometimes Thelonious Monk, especially on the playful "Red Hook," with Morgan's fat- sounding bass, in the way that all the players bounce back and forth pieces of the theme as they push each other forward. "Mandala" is a remarkable tour de force of Blaser's abilities as a leader and soloist. He is a master instrumentalist who has an idiosyncratic voice, assured and strong, aware of the tradition of his instrument but determined to advance with his own sound, with great finesse and rich, nuanced phrasing, an impeccable ear for harmony, and tons of imagination.

This quartet has created its own fascinating sonic universe on their first recording as a quartet; an admirable achievement.

Track Listing: Pieces of Old Sky; Red Hook; Choral I; Mystical Circle; Mandala; Speed Game; Choral II.

Personnel: Samuel Blaser: trombone; Todd Neufeld: guitar; Thomas Morgan: bass; Tyshawn Sorey: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read Numbers CD/LP/Track Review Numbers
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 30, 2017
Read Copenhagen Live 1964 CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 30, 2017
Read The Busker CD/LP/Track Review The Busker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 30, 2017
Read Pathways CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 30, 2017
Read This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People CD/LP/Track Review This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Nigerian Spirit CD/LP/Track Review Nigerian Spirit
by James Nadal
Published: May 29, 2017
Read "Mu" CD/LP/Track Review Mu
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Up Go We" CD/LP/Track Review Up Go We
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "E.S.T. Symphony" CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 26, 2017
Read "Of the Tree" CD/LP/Track Review Of the Tree
by Dave Wayne
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "Do Not Disturb" CD/LP/Track Review Do Not Disturb
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 26, 2016

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!