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

Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Los Guachos V" CD/LP/Track Review Los Guachos V
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 1, 2016
Read "Still Happy" CD/LP/Track Review Still Happy
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 11, 2016
Read "Live in Seattle" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Seattle
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 25, 2016
Read "Need to Bring Out Love" CD/LP/Track Review Need to Bring Out Love
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2016
Read "High Noon" CD/LP/Track Review High Noon
by Anthony Shaw
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "Sus" CD/LP/Track Review Sus
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 12, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!