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The Joel Futterman / "Kidd" Jordan Trio with Alvin Fielder: Southern Extreme

Robert Spencer By

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Drimala is a new label whose recordings can only be obtained at http:www.drimala.com. Futterman, who plays mainly piano, has recorded with the genre-bending Hal Russell; Kidd Jordan played contrabass clarinet for Hamiet Bluiett, but sticks to tenor sax here. Alvin Fielder is a sensitive and daring percussionist a la Sunny Murray.

After a minute-long recitation of the poem that gives this disc its title, the trio dives into the twenty-one minute long "Mississippi Sweet." Jordan's tenor is strongly reminiscent of the Trane and Pharoah workouts of the mid-Sixties – he sounds like both of them together! Futterman's piano is as impassioned as McCoy's was in those bygone days, and then, like Keith Jarrett, he switches to flute in midstream. Unlike Keith, however, he uses the switch as an occasion for some high-register dueling with Jordan, who eventually takes center stage (with Futterman returning to piano) for a screaming workout right out of Live in Seattle.

And so it goes. "No Train North" begins with a whirling drum solo followed by Futterman playing at a furiously lyrical Cecil Taylor pitch. Like Taylor he can (and does) turn down the volume and work in miniature. As Jordan enters in a high register he strums the strings, then takes the reedman on at the keyboard in another ferocious encounter. If Albert Ayler had had a pianist on Spiritual Unity, it would have sounded like this.

Especially worthy of note on this fine example of latter-day "free" playing: On "Plato's Reverie" the trio shows off a sinewy and hypnotic lyricism. "Kidd's Blues" has Futterman and Jordan in anguished duet melodies with Futterman on soprano. This interesting release from this new label shows that the paths blazed by Ayler, late Coltrane, and early Pharoah can still be fruitfully trod today.

Title: Southern Extreme | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Drimala Records

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