Continuity and freshness, while theoretically at odds with one another, are the two things that tend to fuel group development in the arts. Only time can create bonds of trust and help to crystallize concepts and language shared between artists, but consistency can breed predictability. So how can an artist balance the scales, allowing their work to benefit from both? The answeror secretlies in multi-reedist Matt Renzi's Rise And Shine.
For his eighth album as a leader, Renzi reconvened his longstanding trio with bassist Dave Ambrosio and drummer Russ Meissner. This particular group has been at it for fifteen years, but nothing about its work has a been-there-and-done-that feeling. Perhaps that's because of the wide open compositional/structural perspective of the group's leader; or maybe it also has something to do with the musician-curveballs that come in as guests on Rise And Shine. To be honest, it's probably a little a bit of both.
Renzi and company create a melodic Indo-jazz hybrid right out of the gate ("Noasis"), enter the great wide open with some searching sounds on the follow-up tune ("Rise And Shine"), and allow the cross-threading horns of the leader and trumpeter Ralph Alessi to capture the imagination on track number three ("Wall Tune"). By that point, the balance of the expected and unexpected has been fully established.
Additional Alessi encounters make a strong impression ("Animals, Come Forth"), Indian influences rise to the surface again ("Tha Thom"), and an Ornette Coleman's influence looms large in one or two places. It should be noted that the aforementioned pair of Indian-inflected numbers benefit greatly from the work of the album's other guestsvocalist Giridhar Udupa, who only appears on the album opener, and mridangam player A.R. Balaskandan.
The best part of the whole Rise And Shine experience really surrounds its consistently surprising nature. Renzi seems to have found the perfect balance between the known and unknown.
Noasis; Rise And Shine; Wall Tune; Tha Thom; Number Two; Animals, Come Forth;
Matt Renzi: saxophone, oboe, clarinet, flute; Ralph Alessi: trumpet (3, 4, 7); A. R.
Balaskandan: mridingam (1, 5); Giridhar Udupa: vocal percussion (1); Dave Ambrosio:
bass; Russ Meissner: drums.
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