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!

252

Pandelis Karayorgis Quintet: System Of 5

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
A longstanding adherent of intimate duo and trio settings, Boston-based pianist Pandelis Karayorgis' discography has been dominated by small combo recordings since the early 1990s, with many founded on the venerable configuration of piano, bass and drums. A radical traditionalist with a penchant for the acute angles and strident tonalities of advanced post-bop, Karayorgis' recent exploits with bassist Jef Charland and drummer Luther Gray have earned him well-deserved praise. System Of 5 is the debut of Karayorgis' newest ensemble, presenting yet another facet of his prolific artistry—an acoustic quintet featuring veterans Charland and Gray joined by fellow Beantown residents saxophonist Matt Langley and trombonist Jeff Galindo.

Laden with thorny melodies, sophisticated harmonies and shifting rhythms, Karayorgis' labyrinthine compositions eschew the predictability of conventional structures, reveling in the spontaneous potential of mutually improvised narratives. Karayorgis' beguiling writing draws a concise conceptual parallel to his impetuous improvisations; careening through Lennie Tristano-like intervals with Thelonious Monk-ish voicings, his knotty cadences regularly build to a chromatic frenzy of staccato arpeggios and crushing tone clusters reminiscent of a young Cecil Taylor. Charland and Gray are well-attuned to Karayorgis' oblique ruminations, navigating modulating time signatures with a deft balance between pliant old school swing and nuanced abstraction. Langley's abstract blues sensibility and sinuous tone makes a perfect foil for Galindo's gruff avant-expressionism and blustery timbre; their vociferous bacchanalian interplay infuses the proceedings with an impulsive verve that traces its lineage from the soulful New Thing experiments of Archie Shepp and Roswell Rudd back to the roiling fervor of Charles Mingus' seminal Jazz Workshop endeavors.

Throughout the date, Karayorgis and company craft engaging cubist collages from tortuous bop contours and exuberant freewheeling interludes that bristle with coruscating textural detail. Though based on distinct unison themes, Karayorgis' tuneful pieces avoid rote head-solo-head formalism in favor of intricate geometric arrangements featuring interlocking sections for his bandmembers to navigate. Brimming with palpable enthusiasm, Charland and Gray embrace the challenge, double-timing tempos and inverting rhythmic accents with mercurial glee. Karayorgis leads by example, regularly abandoning conventional harmonic progressions during unfettered excursions that juxtapose dissonant lyricism with ecstatic fervor. Langley and Galindo follow suit, transposing gnarled motifs into rapturous exhortations. Expertly negotiating the tenuous divide between inside and outside traditions, System Of 5 is one of Karayorgis' most compelling releases—a stirring session that subtly expands upon the historical jazz continuum, inspired by the lessons of the past.

Track Listing: Transit; Two-ophony; Elastic; Seventh Wonder; Curt's Escape; Stray Line; Due East; Tones Not Notes.

Personnel: Matt Langley: soprano & tenor saxophones; Jeff Galindo: trombone; Pandelis Karayorgis: piano; Jef Charland: double bass; Luther Gray: drums.

Title: System of 5 | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Hatology


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Sounding Tears CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Kill The Boy CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "The Crave" CD/LP/Track Review The Crave
by John Sharpe
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Not This Time" CD/LP/Track Review Not This Time
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: March 5, 2017
Read "Steve Lacy’s Saxophone Special Revisited" CD/LP/Track Review Steve Lacy’s Saxophone Special Revisited
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 29, 2017
Read "Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello" CD/LP/Track Review Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello
by John Eyles
Published: July 11, 2017
Read "Duality: Particles & Waves" CD/LP/Track Review Duality: Particles & Waves
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 16, 2017
Read "Cultural Capital" CD/LP/Track Review Cultural Capital
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 4, 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!