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 The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Reverse Camouflage" CD/LP/Track Review Reverse Camouflage
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 26, 2016
Read "One: Detroit-Cleveland Trio" CD/LP/Track Review One: Detroit-Cleveland Trio
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 7, 2016
Read "Louisiana Soul Revival featuring Doug Duffey" CD/LP/Track Review Louisiana Soul Revival featuring Doug Duffey
by James Nadal
Published: May 16, 2016
Read "Carolina" CD/LP/Track Review Carolina
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 5, 2016
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by John Sharpe
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "Gorgeous Chaos" CD/LP/Track Review Gorgeous Chaos
by James Nadal
Published: May 2, 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!