Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

336

Empty Cage Quartet: Stratostrophic

Rex  Butters By

Sign in to view read count
Stratostrophic, the sixth release by the Empty Cage Quartet (ECQ), finds the avant West Coasters full of ideas and limited by nothing. Their omnivorous approach gladly frustrates label taggers while rewarding informed listeners with advanced compositional and improvisational delights. Their continuing association pays off in an acquired looseness that revels in taking chances without losing the links that keep these sonic aerialists flying together. Inside/outside, silly/serious, ECQ's creative central heat liquefies such abstractions into a bold shower of musical sparks.

The set begins with the three-footed "Again A Gun Again A Gun Again A Gun." Drummer Paul Kikuchi and bassist Ivan Johnson create a stumbling rhythm for fiery Kris Tiner's raw trumpet to blaze across. Johnson gets solo time, then saxophonist Jason Mears plays call and response with Tiner, creating structure while Johnson and Kikuchi explore. "Old Ladies" features a cubist head swinging off kilter and Tiner solos with answers and wails coming from Mears, both always finding their ways back to the unison lines. The minimalist sound picture "Power of the Great" brings out Mears' clarinet, Tiner's mute and Johnson's bow. Kikuchi busily kicks off "We Are All Tomorrow's Food" and keeps it percolating under the others' laconic take on the theme. Mears catches up on clarinet, blasts past and then reins it in to repeat the theme. Tiner and Mears announce "Steps of the Ordinarily Unordinary" with a twisted toy army fanfare, sort of like Albert Ayler on Christmas morning, picked up by the rhythm section and marched around the tree. The haunting "Aurobindo" wafts like incense, Tiner's flugelhorn enriching the sound. "Through the Doorways of Escape Come the Footsteps of Capture" slowly evolves into a formidable mid-tempo groove that Tiner splatters with trumpetese. Johnson and Kikuchi shift gears for Mears to come aboard rolling octaves and squawks around in his mouth, powerfully sprinting ahead.

With notes by no less a musical sage than Wadada Leo Smith, Stratostrophic checks in on one of jazz's most crucial bands and finds them growing strong.

Track Listing: Again a Gun Again a Gun Again a Gun; Feerdom is on the March; Old Ladies; The Power of the Great; We Are All Tomorrow's Food; Steps of the Ordinarily Unordinary; Aurobindo; Through the Doorways of Escape Come the Footsteps of Capture; Beedie and Bob; The Illusion of Transparency; Don't Hesitate to Change Your Mind.

Personnel: Kris Tiner: trumpet, flugelhorn; Jason Mears: alto saxophone, clarinet; Ivan Johnson: double bass; Paul Kikuchi: drums, percussion, electronics.

Title: Stratostrophic | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by John Sharpe
Published: December 14, 2017
Read I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Celebrating William Parker at 65 CD/LP/Track Review Celebrating William Parker at 65
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Eternal Life CD/LP/Track Review Eternal Life
by Jerome Wilson
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "Of Tides" CD/LP/Track Review Of Tides
by John Eyles
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "Tales & Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Tales & Tones
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "High Time" CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Possessed" CD/LP/Track Review Possessed
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 2, 2017
Read "Spavati, Mozda Sanjati" CD/LP/Track Review Spavati, Mozda Sanjati
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Duo (DCWM) 2013" CD/LP/Track Review Duo (DCWM) 2013
by John Sharpe
Published: July 28, 2017

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!