151

The Astral-Terra Trapeze Unit: The Astral-Terra Trapeze Unit

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
The Astral-Terra Trapeze Unit: The Astral-Terra Trapeze Unit Chicago's Astral-Terra Trapeze Unit is the brainchild of alto saxophonist/flutist/composer Kurt Hill Iselt. Inspired by 1960s jazz icons like Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Sun Ra, Iselt chose his band's name to symbolize the polarities of Earth and stars, with musicians as trapeze artists swinging between them.

The first thing you notice about this Trapeze Unit is how cohesive it is. These players negotiate the rhythm, tempo, and time signature changes of Iselt's tunes (he wrote all seven) with sleek precision and no loss of swing or momentum – and indeed, a hearty swing informs these performances. The Trapeze Unit is a working band, and it shows.

Among the soloists, tenor and soprano saxophonist Paul Hartsaw fares best, to these ears. He plays muscular, hard-swinging tenor in the Chicago tradition of great tenor players, a line that includes the likes of John Gilmore and Von Freeman. Grounded in hard bop but not enslaved by it, even going outside at times, Hartsaw is a worthy addition to this elite group. The other notable musician here is veteran AACM trumpeter Bill Brimfield, who contributes thoughtful, sometimes even delicate improvisations. He manipulates his tone from polarities of broad majesty to a sort of scratchy sadness. Brimfield is an important post-Don Cherry trumpet voice, and it's significant that he is part of this band. The leader has a warm sound and an economical style that's reminiscent of Anthony Braxton. But what really makes the Trapeze Unit click is that rhythm section.

Three pieces have lyrics, sung with operatic brio by Kosi Keith Eric. The lyrics are idealistic in the manner of those Pharoah Sanders-Leon Thomas albums of yore – Karma, Jewels Of Thought, and the like. But we live in more cynical times, and today's listeners may find these words naive, new-agey, even silly. Nevertheless, there is much to like here: some catchy melodies, as on "Green Children," and a lot of driving swing; plus Bill Brimfield, and above all, Paul Hartsaw.

For more information, visit www.trapeze6667.com .


Track Listing: Kwahadi Torchflower, Conception, Giampietro, Building Greech Norro, Luger, Paulina's Cornelian Chimes, Green Children.

Personnel: Kurt Hill Iselt, alto sax and flute; Bill Brimfield, trumpet; Paul Hartsaw, tenor and soprano sax; Stu Greenspan, guitar; Vytis Nivinskas, bass; Bonbonfera Tim Keenan, drums, percussion; Alexander Duvel, Flugelhorn, percussion; Kosi Keith Eric, vocals; Paul Spata, congas, percussion; Gynna Kray, vocals.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Astral Jazz | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read A Dark and Stormy Day CD/LP/Track Review A Dark and Stormy Day
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Pocono Git-Down CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Rímur CD/LP/Track Review Rímur
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Schönbrunn CD/LP/Track Review Schönbrunn
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read "The Inner Spectrum of Variables" CD/LP/Track Review The Inner Spectrum of Variables
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 25, 2016
Read "Brückenshlag" CD/LP/Track Review Brückenshlag
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 9, 2016
Read "Storming Through the South" CD/LP/Track Review Storming Through the South
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 1, 2016
Read "Sunday Night At The Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review Sunday Night At The Vanguard
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 18, 2016
Read "Infinitude" CD/LP/Track Review Infinitude
by John Kelman
Published: January 20, 2017
Read "The Expensive Train Set" CD/LP/Track Review The Expensive Train Set
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!