174

Sticks and Stones: Shed Grace

David Adler By

Sign in to view read count
Sticks and Stones: Shed Grace The leaderless, Chicago-born Sticks and Stones trio issued its self-titled debut in 2002 on the 482 Music label. Shed Grace, the group’s Thrill Jockey follow-up, is another fine set—driven by free invention, filtered through democratic exchange. Together, alto saxophonist Matana Roberts, bassist Josh Abrams and drummer Chad Taylor speak the language of free jazz but contend with an array of influences. Their music has the swinging abandon of Ornette Coleman’s Golden Circle recordings, but also the polyrhythmic drive of Dave Holland’s Triplicate (with Steve Coleman and Jack DeJohnette).

That said, Sticks and Stones has arrived at its own way of a balancing composition and improvisation. All three members continue to write for the band. The disc leads off with two contrasting pieces by Abrams: “Shed Grace” places a legato melody over a sonic onslaught of bass and drums, while “The Refusal” finds Roberts on clarinet, responding to Taylor’s brilliant solo introduction and later joining Abrams in a free form duet. The body of the piece is in 12/8, with an abbreviated, Eastern-tinged unison motive. Later, Abrams builds “So Very Cold” around a simple 6/4 bass line and, eventually, a yearning, high-register alto melody.

Taylor’s “Wordful” is a written rubato theme colored by cymbals, mallets and arco bass; his “Wonder Twins,” in 5/4, receives especially strong input from Abrams. Roberts’ first entry is “Veatrice,” with an African-influenced three-against-four figure broken up by a series of mysterious pauses. The final track, another Roberts piece titled “4:30,” lasts just about that long. It starts out fast and hot but then does a 180º, winding down sparse and out of tempo.

Three non-original selections round out the program. Roberts reveals her more straight-ahead side with a ballad reading of Strayhorn’s “Isfahan,” and the trio has fun with a very short and highly abstract version of Monk’s “Skippy” (an obscure tune mined in recent years by David Liebman and Ralph Peterson). While the first Sticks and Stones album nodded toward Jamaica with a cover of Junior Delgado and Lee “Scratch” Perry’s “Sons of Slaves,” Shed Grace honors Fela Kuti with a loose four-minute take on the Afro-beat pioneer’s “Colonial Mentality.”


Track Listing: 1. Shed Grace - 5:20 2. The Refusal - 10:48 3. Wordful - 3:39 4. Skippy - 1:55 5. Veatrice - 3:40 6. So Very Cold - 3:43 7. Colonial Mentality - 4:02 8. Wonder Twins - 4:24 9. Ishfahan - 8:26 10. 430 - 4:20

Personnel: Josh Abrams - Bass, Agogo Bell; Chad Taylor - Percussion, Drums; Matana Roberts - Clarinet, Percussion, Alto Sax.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Thrill Jockey | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

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 The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Rehab Reunion" CD/LP/Track Review Rehab Reunion
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 11, 2016
Read "Collective Effervescence" CD/LP/Track Review Collective Effervescence
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 24, 2016
Read "Momentum" CD/LP/Track Review Momentum
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "Winds Of Mouth" CD/LP/Track Review Winds Of Mouth
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 8, 2016
Read "A Handful Of Songs" CD/LP/Track Review A Handful Of Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "Iridescent Clouds" CD/LP/Track Review Iridescent Clouds
by James Nadal
Published: September 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!