1

Noah Preminger: Pivot: Live At The 55 Bar

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Noah Preminger: Pivot: Live At The 55 Bar The first thing that should be said about tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger's Pivot: Live At The 55 Bar is the extremely exciting you-are-there feeling of the recording. Recording engineer Jimmy Katz has managed to capture the sound and visceral feel of a jazz quartet in full cry with no net. Many jazz listeners can remember a performance when everything clicked and the magic happened—where the audience was as much in the groove as the players were with no space existing between the stage and your table, and you almost physically floated outside the club after the gig.

This is one of those performances as Preminger is joined by trumpeter Jason Palmer, bassist Kim Cass and drummer Ian Froman in two non-stop thirty-minute sets that must have singed the audience at 55 bar in New York City's West Village, which is a small venue (see this pic and this pic to get an idea of how "intimate" the venue really is.

Supported by Kass and Froman who swing with an almost manic intensity and energy ("swing" here is used in the sense a pulse that has forward movement and drive, rather that which is tied to a meter) Preminger and Palmer feel free to go anywhere they wish, playing for long stretches without any hesitations, repetitions or noodling. This is pure improvisation with no harmony instrument present for support, and both players make statements, build on them and eventually resolve them, carrying the listener along with them for the ride.

One of the obvious antecedents for this kind of performance is John Coltrane's 1961 Village Vanguard performance, but the intent is not to bring back a forty-year-old aesthetic. Rather, Preminger had found inspiration in the Delta Blues of Bukka White, and the two sets are explorations of Parchman Farm Blues (lyrics here) and Fixin' To Die Blues (lyrics here).

White's delta blues are primal and his music has a drone quality in that it does not have what is now expected as 12-or 16-bar blues harmonic structure, but is much more open ended, intensified by his use of open tunings. Preminger was attracted to the honesty and directness of White's music and wanted to translate that energy into the performance. Each track opens with a rendition of the basic melody of the White tune at hand, but then the band is off to the races.

Preminger talks about the technical aspects of how to continue to improvise effectively over what is a static harmony. This is where the "pivot" of the title comes in: using "pivot chords" (explained here) Preminger and Palmer are able to give a sense of structure to their long solos. Preminger credits Joe Morris for the "inspiration for finding a way as an improviser to tell your story however long you need to, while swinging intensely."

The effect is stunning, especially when combined with the quality of the recording. Preminger and the band are to be lauded for taking this chance and hopefully, Pivot: Live At The 55 Bar is but the first recording to capture the magic of a live performance.

Track Listing: Parchman Farm Blues; Fixin to Die Blues.

Personnel: Noah Preminger; tenor saxophone; Jason Palmer; trumpet; Kim Cass; bass; Ian Froman; drums.

Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Fringes of Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Holiday On Fire CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Calvins Toboggan CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Silent Light CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read PausaLive CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Happy" CD/LP/Track Review Happy
by Budd Kopman
Published: April 29, 2016
Read "Chasing Pixies" CD/LP/Track Review Chasing Pixies
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: May 30, 2016
Read "Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath II" CD/LP/Track Review Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath II
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow" CD/LP/Track Review Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 16, 2016
Read "Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground" CD/LP/Track Review Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 1, 2016
Read "Let Loose" CD/LP/Track Review Let Loose
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: May 15, 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!