Terri Lyne Carrington's newest disc is her most focused and cohesive effort to date. The coproduction by the multitalented drummer with Yellowjackets electric bassist Jimmy Haslip may not be what fans of her hard bop or funk-driven projects would expect, but the music is bound to please discerning listeners. Structure is an atypical fusion date, combining elements of early ECM and M-BASE music into a heady concoction that is both physically and mentally stimulating. TLC leads the essentially cooperative quartet with Haslip, saxophonist Greg Osby and guitarist Adam Rogers through a program of mostly originals (three by the leader, two each from the other members) that assiduously avoid the popular song form.
Opening with her own pensive "Mindful Intent," the drummer announces her aim to create music that is cerebrally rewarding. Osby and Rogers alternate unison and counter melodies over Haslip's ominous bass and the drummer's percussion line, which utilizes an Afro-Cuban figure to give it a funky feel. Osby's dark brooding "Black Halo" follows in much the same atmospheric mood. On the date's one popular song, "Ethiopia," Carrington reveals herself to be a fine vocalist, delivering a heartfelt reading of Joni Mitchell's often ironic lyric. Rogers' "The Invisible" is a briskly articulated melodic line with a sense of urgency reinforced by the leader's idea compiling nonlinear rhythms. Haslip's "Spiral" is a lyrical line deliberately delivered to showcase the composer's melodicism.
Rhythm Abstraction: Azure is the first volume of new compositions created as a follow up to 2018’s
release Rhythm Kaleidoscope. As with that release, Brock Avery improvised drum and percussion
solos. Frank Macchia then composed music for woodwinds and orchestra to Brock’s creations. Azure
is the first of three extended play albums of 6-7 compositions which will be released starting in
January and followed up in April and July. In Azure we have a created a group of pieces that continue
our quest for honoring the art of improvisation with a “stream-of-consciousness” sense of
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