202

Michal Attias: Renku

Michael McCaw By

Sign in to view read count
: Renku After studying with both Lee Konitz and Anthony Braxton, it would be hard not to have developed a singular sound or vision. And with Renku, saxophonist Michaël Attias presents himself as his own man, but with numerous shards of reference points. For his stateside debut under his own name, Attias puts forth Renku—his two year-old house group from Brooklyn's Barbès, where he heads the Night of the Ravished Limbs music series. Comprised of Attias mostly on alto, John Herbert on acoustic bass, and the highly underrated Satoshi Takeishi on drums, Renku exhibits a deft ability when it comes to palpable interplay and succinct musical statements that blur the compositional with the improvisational.

Although references to Ornette Coleman's trios have their place, this band's interaction and overall sound is more in line with the late Thomas Chapin's trio recordings for Knitting Factory, where each member held equal weight and was capable of highly intricate passages. And although Attias contributes the bulk of this material, reflecting all the aforementioned references in some manner, Renku stands as an original statement spurned on by consistent invention—from the spatial free setting of "Snow to the theme of the album's odd-meter walking opener, "Dark Net, which dissolves and resurfaces throughout its three minute performance.

Throughout, the trio works with a singular mind. Herbert provides a deep, thick tone that often serves as the touchstone while probing for his own statements. Takeshi once again shows his customary depth of listening and technique. Not unlike Hamid Drake, he imbues the music with a sense of daring through an ability to work in free, straight, or folk-oriented contexts. His features on compositions like "The Crunch often favor a paced and conversational feel, rather than bombast or crescendos of press or cymbal rolls.

Attias pulls compositional ideas from Braxton's knotty, complex realm, Thelonious Monk, and other translated artistic mediums. "Renku is named after a form of Japanese poetry where a Haiku (containing lines of five, seven, and five syllables respectively) is linked with another two line stanza (seven syllables each) to form a longer form. Attias translates the form, and the group improvises over the converted metric structure until it ultimately folds in on itself.

Attias plays with a lyrical edge that sticks close to the developed melody, but also manifests an angular flow reminiscent of Chapin's, but with a slightly more bitter feel. The approximately five-minute title piece is indicative of how each of these tracks work within their own framework, rarely being stretched beyond their inherent life. Improvisations or solos are consistently ingrained within these constructs, contributing to the structure from which they are generated. This is evident even in two short improvised pieces that follow their own logic.

Ultimately, Renku is a confident trio statement. Attias, Herbert, and Takieshi have forged a standout recording that marks the emergence of a significant new voice on the alto saxophone. It also marks another impressive release from Playscape Recordings.

Note: Credo, a sextet album from Attias, will be released this winter on Clean Feed.


Track Listing: Dark Net; The Crunch; Renku; King Fish; Slow Arrows; Lumbago Boogaloo; Hotel #1; Horse Fly; Loom; Ciao Monkey; Snow; Work.

Personnel: Michal Attias: alto, soprano, and baritone saxophones; John Hebert: bass; Satoshi Takeishi: drums.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Playscape Recordings | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Rope" CD/LP/Track Review Rope
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 6, 2016
Read "Psichedelica" CD/LP/Track Review Psichedelica
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2016
Read "Crowded Solitudes" CD/LP/Track Review Crowded Solitudes
by John Sharpe
Published: July 24, 2016
Read "Blues, Preludes and Feuds" CD/LP/Track Review Blues, Preludes and Feuds
by Geannine Reid
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "Tony Kadleck Big Band: Around the Horn" CD/LP/Track Review Tony Kadleck Big Band: Around the Horn
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: November 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!