184

James Finn: Plaza De Toros

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
James Finn: Plaza De Toros Plaza De Toros is a portrait of a bullfight rendered in free jazz terms. That description may sound almost absurd, but the music itself, with its power and its use of idiomatic Spanish harmonic material, carries the passion of its subject matter in direct fashion.

James Finn plays the tenor saxophone, and he plays it very well. His tone is full and robust, with a heft and vibrato inspired by Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster, and the sheer weight and mass of it recalls Albert Ayler. He plays some very fast lines, but he articulates his notes with precision. His improvising is both passionate and intelligent, with a clear sense of order. He might start with a phrase, examine it, embellish it, play longer lines, and build to a screaming climax. Unlike the first wave of energy players, Finn doesn't rely on altissimo squealing for the bulk of his solos. Instead, he plays with control and a logical sense of development.

Plaza De Toros is free jazz. It does not swing. The rhythms push and pull, or rush past like cyclones, or pulsate in seemingly erratic fashion. But swing rhythms are implied throughout the album. The beat darts in and out, with drummer Warren Smith surging through many tempo shadings, all of them variations on very fast. On "Toreo de Capa," to name one example, Smith allows a very fast 4/4 swing to surface momentarily. Virtuoso bassist Dominic Duval provides a moving line, always maintaining a sophisticated conversation with Finn and Smith. If you listen carefully, though, you'll a few rare instances in which Duval walks his bass. The level of interplay among Finn, Duval, and Smith is commendably deep at all times.

If there is any weakness in Plaza De Toros, it lies in the similarity of the harmonic structure of many of the performances. Some of Finn's compositions sound as if they were constructed from an identical chord sequence or mode, so there's a certain sameness to much of the music. And the tempos seem to be either very fast or very slow, with nothing in between. Apart from those reservations, however, this CD offers free playing of the highest order.

Track Listing: Toreo de Capa; Plaza de Toros; The Phantom Bull Of Seville; El Tercio De Varas; Eyes Of Angelina; El Tercio De Vanderillas; El Tercio De Muleta; La Estocada; Toro Bravo.

Personnel: James Finn: tenor saxophone; Dominic Duval: bass; Warren Smith: drums,

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Two CD/LP/Track Review Two
by Joe Gatto
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand CD/LP/Track Review Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Come Together" CD/LP/Track Review Come Together
by James Nadal
Published: May 27, 2016
Read "Music Box Music" CD/LP/Track Review Music Box Music
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "Rough Enough" CD/LP/Track Review Rough Enough
by Nicola Negri
Published: August 7, 2016
Read "Loafer's Hollow" CD/LP/Track Review Loafer's Hollow
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Astoria Roots Live" CD/LP/Track Review Astoria Roots Live
by James Nadal
Published: May 17, 2017
Read "Smokin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse (1966)" CD/LP/Track Review Smokin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse (1966)
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 14, 2017
comments powered by Disqus

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!