Muli-reedist Frank Macchia and percussionist Brock Avery started 2020 with their release of Rhythm Abstraction: Azure (Cacophony), a follow-up to 2018's Rhythm Kaleidoscope (Cacophony), employing its predecessor's approach. Here's how it works. Avery lays down an improvised percussion foundation. Then Macchia steps in with just about every imaginable reed instrument to construct an elaborate orchestrationone step, one saxophone (or flute, or clarinet, or ocarina) at a time. Liken it to Avery serving as a baker, sculpting a cake, then calling in the decorator, Macchia, who brings in a hundred colors and lays on a thousand different, intricate designs. That's how things rolled with 2018's Rhythm Kaleidoscope, with 2020's Rhythm Abstraction: Azure, and that's how it goes with the set at hand, Rhythm Abstraction: Gold, part two of the three part release scheduled to wrap up in July of 2020, with Rhythm Abstraction: Ruby.
The music sounds like an utterly spontaneous and exuberant brew of jazz and classical, big band variety. It is a "[continuing pursuit of] the use of tone rows and motifs to create a music journey that ebbs and flows with the rhythm and takes the listener on a journey through rhythm and sound." That may sound a bit deepand the music isbut it is also an approachable, high-energy and vivacious sound, beginning with "Compulsions," a stew of sound set on a rolling boilan intense four minutes-plus that wraps up with a screaming, psychotic culmination.
"Inquisition" is a soundtrack to a tortuous interrogation, and "Complications" trundles along on an abstract groove, while "Anahata" evokes an atmosphere of mysterious spirituality. "Momentum," featuring a foundation that sounds like African traditional drumming, features Macchia using a couple of chromatic five-note pentatonic scales and wood flutes, along with a glorious, soaring vocal chant by Tracy London (it sounds like multiple Tracy Londons, reverberating down from heaven) to close Part Two of Frank Macchia and Brock Avery's Rhythm Abstractions, this one appropriately entitled Gold.