142

Jim Ryan's Forward Energy: The Concept

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
For all the energy here the group is as in thrall to its own role models as the latest adherents to Miles Davis's pre-fusion quintet of the mid-to late 1960s. In revisiting what's essentially Albert Ayler's music – wasn't this once known amongst marketing types as "ecstatic jazz" for all of five minutes? – Jim Ryan's Forward Energy brings nothing new to it, and the one-dimensional nature of the music makes for taxing listening.

If this kind of thing is to work, then the music has to offer something other than the sound of five musicians with too muuch energy and little direction. In being neither entirely free improvisation or music with any overt structure, we're faced with Trammell treating his drums as an adversary that only understands the language of battering, Looney having little appreciation for the dynamics of the piano, and the group as a whole apparently suffering from a pathological fear of subtlety, interplay and silence. Only intensive listening to The Complete Delmark Recordings of Roscoe Mitchell (is this a Mosaic box set yet?) can remedy the situation.

Thus, we're fifteen minutes into The Concept before things settle down, although either Mangan or Ryan persists in playing the same figure they've been playing since minute one for just a little longer. By the twentieth minute, however, the stasis of the first fifteen has been restored, and the sound of a group playing exclusively for each other becomes just a little tiresome.

"Wisteria," by some distance the shortest track on the disc, features Mangan and Ryan in surprisingly animated dialogue before the rest of the band comes in and has the perverse effect of lessening the dynamics of the music.

This branch of free jazz can work just as well as any other, and there are countless examples on record of it doing so. This isn't one of them. None of the musicians present has a readily identifiable voice, and the one-dimensional nature of the music, together with the group's assumption that catharsis makes for worthwhile music-making, makes insttead for music deficient in the very qualities that reward repeated listening.


Track Listing: 1. Oaktown Sunrise 2. The Concept 3. Bird Watchers 4. How Are You? 5. Wisteria

Personnel: Jim Ryan, Alto & Tenor Saxes; Alicia Mangan, Tenor Sax; Scott R. Looney, Piano; Adam Lane, Bass; Marshall Trammell, Drums.

Title: The Concept | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Cadence Jazz Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Morphogenesis" CD/LP/Track Review Morphogenesis
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 12, 2017
Read "Penumbra" CD/LP/Track Review Penumbra
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "On Hollywood Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "Clockwise: The Music Of Cedar Walton" CD/LP/Track Review Clockwise: The Music Of Cedar Walton
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "Concert Of The Century" CD/LP/Track Review Concert Of The Century
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: August 10, 2017
Read "Cross-Platform Interchange" CD/LP/Track Review Cross-Platform Interchange
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 4, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.