The great saxophonist Evan Parker wouldn’t embark on a tour with someone of lesser or diminutive talents. Recently, Parker and saxophonist Ned Rothenberg joined forces for a series of live performances at selected venues. Yet on Sync, Rothenberg performs with bassist-guitarist Jerome Harris and percussionist Samir Chatterjee for a jubilant set of sprightly works marked by an overall air of contentment and joy! Pieces such as “Gamalong” and “Dad Can Dig” combine sharp, punchy rhythms with North Indian motifs as Harris firms down the rhythms either on acoustic guitar or acoustic bass while Chatterjee melds traditional Indian raga concepts with straight-four implied and undulating measures. On these tracks, Rothenberg performs on alto sax as the trio often weaves in and out while turning in memorable themes and sharp, tightly organized unison lines. Rothenberg utilizes the flute on the somewhat mystical and reverberating “Lost In A Blue Forest” while Chatteree implements crashing percussion statements which enables this piece to be gauged or portrayed in time as if the musicians were on a journey through – a forest. With “Trip To The Bar”, Rothenberg’s flotation style performances on clarinet rides the strong rhythmic undercurrent as he also transforms and reintroduces the main theme in somewhat of a casual or playful manner.
Any new recording by Ned Rothenberg is certainly worth checking into as Sync offers yet another glimpse of this clever and extremely talented stylist. Basically, there’s not one forgettable piece on this rather upbeat affair which is stamped with innocence, strong melodic invention and flowing rhythms. Recommended!