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Ill Considered: Precipice

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Ill Considered: Precipice
The British pianist John Tilbury believes that some free-improv musicians play for too long without pausing for literal or metaphorical breath and, to make matters worse, do not listen hard enough to their bandmates. How right he is. Tilbury has not named names, but many AAJers could surely suggest some. Tilbury recommends that improvising musicians should only play for one-third of the time available.

Tell this to London's improvising trio Ill Considered—tenor saxophonist Idris Rahman, bassist Liran Donin and drummer Emre Ramazanoglu. On Precipice, all three play all the time.

But it works. The reason it works is partly the nature of the music—consonant, with key centers and motor rhythms—and partly because the players do listen to each other, intently and all the time. The result? Music that is a pleasure to listen to rather than a threat to mental health.

Frontman Idris Rahman is typical of his colleagues in being at home in structured as well as wholly improvised situations. Occasionally, though not often enough, he performs on clarinet with his supremely talented sister, the pianist Zoe Rahman, playing traditional Bengali music, standards and originals. He is also a founder member, and co-leader with trumpeter Robin Hopcraft, of the outstanding Afrobeat-meets-conscious-reggae band Soothsayers. The first cut is the deepest, so they say, and this parish's favorite albums from both these units are not their most recent releases. Idris and Zoe's Where Rivers Meet (Manushi, 2008), a collection of Bengali tunes heard through their father and his family, is exquisitely beautiful. Soothsayers' Tangled Roots (Red Earth, 2006), is a more visceral affair. Both albums are blinders.

Precipice was recorded live, with great sound, in Ill Considered's 3x3m Tardis-like home studio (it is bigger on the inside), with no overdubs. Coming in just shy of 45 minutes, the ten tracks are fiery without being abrasive, and sometimes soft and yielding. Check the YouTube below. Ever lyrical, Rahman's rough-hewn sound, often vocalized in its middle and lower registers, is pure joy to listen to, as is the way all three musicians bounce off each other. This is the sort of album that gives free improv a good name.

Track Listing

Jellyfish; Don't Be Sad (It's Too Late); Vespa Crabro; Linus With The Sick Burn; And Then There Were Three; Katabatic; Black Lacquer; Kintsugi; Solenopsis; Alpenglow.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Precipice | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: New Soil


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