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Sonic Openings Under Pressure: Rapt Circle

Rex  Butters By

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Rapt Circle presents Patrick Brennan's sonic openings under pressure in two performances three weeks apart in June of 2002. Brennan played free, then worked with advanced compositional forms that blur lines between spontaneous and prepared, developing over fifty pieces. With a nod to Roscoe Mitchell, Brennan evolved an original sound that keeps the alto meaty and full of sass. Cecil Taylor/Leroy Jenkins/Dave Douglas alum Hilliard Green drives time with precision pops or rubberized slide. Drummer and Theremin enthusiast Newman Taylor Baker has worked with Sam Rivers, Dewey Redman, and Billy Harper.

On the three tracks recorded live at the Montreal Jazz Festival, the trio adds percussionist Juma Santos Ayantola. His glistening chimes divide the melodic drum solo that opens "Scissor Bump." A sly rhythm falling in and out of funk initiates the series of transitory time signatures, never without the sweat of the blues. At times the writing resembles dub, with an instrument dropping out at a time shift, resuming at the next change. Baker's hard listening drumming plays well with Ayantola's conversational congas.

An exploratory "Spin" features intimate moments with Baker tapping rims and Brennan playing the short burst theme. By the end the alto flies like a hornet. Green anchors "Which Way What" with resilient bass lines. Brennan tears through Green's framework, Baker sizzling on cymbals and slapping traps.

The second version of "Scissor Bump" goes straight to the funk. Trimmed by six minutes, the Vision Fest version delivers more pop. Green solos strenuously and minimally to open "Covert." Baker offers subtle support and Brennan blows bluesy over the slinky tune. The second version of "Which Way What" turns up the intensity of the first, with Baker particularly charged.

Using similar compositions from two different performances gives a glimpse of Sonic Openings Under Pressure's unique approach to guided improvisation.

Track Listing: Scissor Bump; Spin; Which Way What; Scissor Bump; Covert; Which Way What.

Personnel: Patrick Brennan, alto sax; Hilliard Green, bass viol; Newman Taylor Baker, trap drums; Juma Santos Ayantola, percussion.

Title: Rapt Circle | Year Released: 2005


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