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Shot x Shot: Shot x Shot

Tom Greenland By

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Shot x Shot is a group of four young musicians from Philadelphia—Bryan Roger (tenor sax), Dan Capecchi (drums), Dan Scofield (alto sax) and Matt Engle (bass)—who play with a free-roaming, exploratory spirit coupled to a precociously mature sense of pacing and restraint.

Recorded in St. Mary's Church, this self-titled disc emits an ethereal ambiance, from the echoed finger-on-the-chalkboard effects of the first track to the reverberating silences of "Volzalisle," a freeform number with undulating phrases. "Bee Assassins," based on the tenor's pedal-pointed B-natural, is helically assaulted in major and minor modes by a clambering alto, then augmented in the bass.

"One Point Three Full Breaths" also contains a droning B, now in minor tonality: an ambling thirteen-beat bass line leads to a harmonized head reminiscent of Coleman and Cherry, followed by minimalist figures in the alto shadowed by slightly delayed tenor. Next come two back-to-back free improvisations that build, phrase by phrase, ebbing and flowing like cyclic surges of ocean wave-sets. Again, these guys know when not to play, giving the music space to grow organically.

On "Volzalisle," Scofield's drawn-out tones and lean, thematic motifs provide a template for Rogers' embroidery, while drummer Capecchi impresses with his ability to generate pulse and propulsion without playing strict time. The closer, "Chains of Agree," features a ten-beat melody line, a free-blowing middle section, and a tight compositional structure reining in the "chaos."

At Bar 4—a cozy, neighborhood venue in Park Slope—in mid-May, Shot x Shot played a short, forceful set including "Lemon Taste Powder," "Geometries & Effort," "Displaced by Fire," "Chains of Agree" and "Scans," the latter with a bowed bass melody to burbling sax accompaniment and vigorous solos from Rogers and Capecchi. Shot x Shot—a prime example of the often overlooked "underground"—epitomizes the vitality of "local" jazz scenes.


Track Listing: Bee Assassins; One Point Three Full Breaths; Two Improvisations; Volzalisle; Chains of Agree.

Personnel: Dan Capecchi: drums; Matt Engle: bass; Bryan Rogers: tenor saxophone; Dan Scofield: alto saxophone.

Title: Shot X Shot | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: High Two Recordings


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