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Aaron Bennett / Darren Johnston / Lisa Mezzacappa / Frank Rosaly: Shipwreck 4

Glenn Astarita By

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Chicago-based session ace and solo artist, drummer Frank Rosaly aligns with San Francisco Bay Area notables for a meeting of like-minded, highly skilled improvisers. After a gig in Frisco, the musicians' scheduled time to record this quartet date. Unfortunately, Shipwreck studios was destroyed in a fire a few months after this session and the musicians decided to pay a bit of homage via the album moniker.

As improvisers amid the semi-structured song-forms, they do what they characteristically do best. Hence, the artists bear down and get the work done, whether they're romping through a garrulous escapade or winding matters down into subliminal theme-building maneuvers. The ensemble bustles and shuffles through a consortium of asymmetrical mini-motifs, where trumpeter Darren Johnston and saxophonist Aaron Bennett often mimic each other's improvisational statements.

The quartet digs deep into the well as they navigate through unrestricted musical spaces countered with expressive passages, sketched with rubato and thorny time signatures; although, the soloists delve into microtonal territory with terse notes and prickly overtures during "When Not Night." However, on the album's lengthiest (13:09) track "Bloom," the frontline's blaring horns parts segue into cantankerous exchanges, as bassist Lisa Mezzacappa's interweaving and subdued interlude prefaces Johnston's colorful and softly executed muted lines. In addition, the trumpeter acts like a ringleader who reassembles the troops, briskly peppered by Rosaly's inventive and rather zesty percussive gambits.

Needless to state, we're not listening to a bunch of rookies here, as the performers' glowing synergy and gushing ideas effectively transfer into a buoyant, investigational undertaking that unravels additional treats on subsequent listens.

Track Listing: The Storm We See, The Sea We Saw; Counted Like Flies; When Not Night; Everything's Coming Up Rosaly; Boom; The Face Consented, At Last.

Personnel: Lisa Mezzacappa: bass; Darren Johnston: trumpet; Aaron Bennett: tenor saxophone: Frank Rosaly: drums.

Title: Shipwreck 4 | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records


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