New York City-based saxophonist/composer Seth Misterka has studied and performed with new music icon Anthony Braxton, while generally aligning his talents with many of the Northeast’s up and comers. (Or, to some extent, Braxton influenced composers and instrumentalists.)
President’s Day features Misterka’s quintet, who abide by the moniker Seth Misterka and the Misterka Clones. With this release, the musicians set themselves apart from many of their young peers! Not content to simply mimic proven formulas, this band dishes out some relatively hard hitting rock grooves amid raucous soloing and much more. On pieces such as “Super Bowl Sunday,” Misterka (alto sax) and Brian Glick (baritone sax) get to the bottom of matters in a hurry, via their rather feisty interplay and brazen approach. However, the band’s modus operandi largely consists of difficult time signatures, minimalist style themes, and blitzing rock motifs, augmented by the fluent and often free-jazz like accordion work of Pete Cafarella. Among the noteworthy aspects of this album is the artists’ celebratory pursuit of what many would assume to be austere and extremely complex compositions. Whether engaging in a series of finely structured unison choruses or intense, in-your-face rhythmic episodes, the band conveys a rather glib sense of humor. On “Valentines Day,” Cafarella weaves a rapid ostinato while the primary soloists seemingly enjoy life in the fast lane during various movements. All of the musicians play a key role throughout.
Other highlights to be found consist of Misterka’s wailing plaintive cries and the band’s penchant for producing the appropriate dynamics via climactic overtures, contrapuntal statements, or droning extended note passages. Furthermore, drummer, Nate Smith does a fine job keeping it all together, while embarking on a few, inventively devised solos. Smith also appears on Misterka’s The Demon, featuring Cafarella’s cleverly articulated synth work. This is an interesting effort, marked by the trio’s regimented unison lines and linearly executed themes. With that, Misterka and his astute band-mates are among those who seem to be reshaping the current state of progressive jazz music. Passionately recommended!!!