Nascent New York-based pianist, composer Kris Davis presents a musical journey that may be akin to navigating through a dense forest via snaking trails, rolling hills and dusky caves. With a first-class supporting cast , the pianist's comprehensive works emphasize her luminous imaginative powers. Several movements are fashioned with cascading horns passages, supple deviations and variable cadences amid the conventional dips and spikes as the band slips, slides and locks into alternating rhythmic parameters.
Davis' compositional style incorporates numerous mini- movements, subplots and the frontline's probing solos. On "the Ghost of Your Previous Fuckup," grave news is exploited by the clarinetists' howling notes and drummer Jim Black's hard-hitting beats. The ensemble also renders a free-jazz jamboree, perhaps stating a major screw up of some flavor that is seemingly in compliance with the track title. Surging forward, Davis' intense piano phrasings steer the musical events into an Ornette Coleman style free-bop vibe with splintered rhythms and a succession of organized and freeform movements. Moreover, organist Gary Versace must have lit up the studio with his sizzling and silvery single note runs during various sectors of the production.
The leader finalizes the album by tossing a curveball into the mix with the album's lengthiest piece "Save Your Breath," which is engineered on an outside the box ambient ethereal framework, shaded with droning lines and subliminal undertones. Here, Davis processes an unanticipated contrapuntal statement that offers a calming contrast to the ensemble's preceding game-plan. Indeed, she aims her sights rather high throughout this persuasive journey into an abstract musical space that recurrently circles back to core jazz attributes with similes to the inner-workings of a contemporary classical composer.
Track Listing: Union Forever; Jumping Over Your Shadow; Always Leave Them (Wanting More); Whirly Swirly; The Gosth of Your Previous Fuckup; Save Your Breath.
Personnel: Ben Goldberg: clarinetto basso, clarinetto contralto, clarinetto; Oscar Noriega: clarinetto basso, clarinetto; Joachim Badenhorst: clarinetto basso, clarinetto; Andrew Bishop: clarinetto contrabbasso, clarinetto; Nate Radley: chitarra; Gary Versace: organo; Jim Black: batteria; Kris Davis: piano, composizione.
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