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Roswell Rudd/Jamie Saft/Trevor Dunn/Balazs Pandi: Strength & Power

Dan Bilawsky By

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Buckle up. This is one wild ride that cares not for your apprehension, concerns, expectations, or fears. Pianist Jamie Saft and two of his regular collaborators—bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Balazs Pandi—got together with trombone icon Roswell Rudd to get down to the art of music making with nothing but their senses to guide them. It was an improvised session in its purest form—no charts, no sketches, and no preconceived notions about where things should or shouldn't go. These men simply used intuition, receptiveness, attentiveness, and a willingness to let go as the key to open the doors to the outer limits of possibility.

Anybody familiar with these names shouldn't be surprised by the fact that there's brazen blowing, jabbing bass, slamming drums, and pummeled piano a plenty here. These four don't dance around an idea or wax hesitantly with their instruments. They take the plunge, head first, with no regrets. But that's not to say there's no thought in their actions. These musicians have far too much experience to simply turn up and tune out. You can hear that in they way they gently build and explore a radiant world ("Luminescent"), you can spot it when they flip focus to Dunn during a lengthy journey ("Cobalt Is Divine"), and, believe it or not, you can even get a glimpse of it when they chip away at cacophony at the conclusion of a shambolic and heady boxing match ("The Bedroom"). It's everything you could expect from a set of musicians known to be open to dialogue and new thought(s) yet strong-willed in their actions.

For some, Rudd will be the main draw here. He breathes a lifetime of experience through his horn, evident in his tribal chatter ("Dunn's Falls"), his beautiful peculiarities ("Luminescent"), his explorations in an avant-NOLA atmosphere ("Struttin' For Jah Jah"), and his unrestrained use of force. For others, the brash trio of Saft, Dunn, and Pandi will make the sale. And for a third group—the truly curious—the inter-generational action may be the attraction. All of that is well and good, but the selling point is of less concern than the art itself—a powerful blend of untethered and unbelievably exciting music. Strength and power indeed.

Track Listing: Strength & Power; Cobalt Is Divine; The Bedroom; Luminescent; Dunn's Falls; Struttin' For Jah Jah.

Personnel: Roswell Rudd: trombone; Jamie Saft: piano; Trevor Dunn: acoustic bass; Balazs Pandi: drums.

Title: Strength & Power | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: RareNoiseRecords

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