Swiss saxophonist Christoph Erb aligns with prominent exponents of Chicago's nu-jazz, avant-garde scene for a highly expressionistic incursion, modeled with his breathy microtonal notes and free-form abstractions. Blotted by manifold sound-sculpting implementations, rolling rhythms and budding crash and burn stylizations, the musical characteristics radiate an extended reach where anything is possible.
The band kicks off the proceedings with "Karung," a piece engineered with unnerving vistas and drummer Frank Rosaly's bustling asymmetrical grooves amid cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm's furious parts, projecting a megalomaniacal way of dealing with dour circumstances. Hence, the musicians enact vivid imagery in almost all situations. They exude an organic power and operate through various slants, including circular and mind-bending passages, to counteract many of the sonorous or subtly melodic inferences.
"Meshok," the album closer, is highlighted by Erb's flirtatious bass clarinet lines, launching a series of weaving dialogues shaped by Rosaly's nimble brush-work as bassist Jason Roebke lays down a fluid bottom. Here, the rhythm section patterns the deftly sweeping pace. Moreover, Erb intersperses moments of happenstance where brief melody lines are predominately kept under the covers. Yet the quartet's fractured flows and windswept theme constructions offer additional perspectives.
Erb is becoming a notable force within the freer realms of jazz-tinged improvisation. Having the Chicago contingent onboard signals a deterministic outline, yielding persuasive concepts and wily interactions sans any reckless soloing ventures that would conceivably overshadow the artists' great synergy.
Karung; Kott; Kadhananlo; Meshok.
Christoph Erb: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Fred Lonberg-Holm, cello, guitar; Jason Roebke: double bass; Frank Rosaly: drums, electronics.
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