All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

246

Shoup / Burns / Radding / Campbell: The Levitation Shuffle

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Half a century into its development, free improvisation is still a risky scenario for the creative musician. Virtuosity and attentive listening skills are merely basic foundations; a willingness to subvert ego to the group is essential in any true collective. It takes musicians with sympathetic sensibilities to produce a free jazz album of truly exceptional quality. The Levitation Shuffle is such an album.

Alto saxophonist Wally Shoup, bassist Reuben Radding, drummer Greg Campbell and pianist Gust Burns all have longstanding ties to Seattle's avant-garde scene, where this session was recorded. The unofficial leader, Shoup is well known in the underground for his scorching histrionics alongside electric guitarists Nels Cline and Thurston Moore. An adherent of non-idiomatic improvisation, Shoup plays with a riotous textural sensibility that stretches beyond blues-based idioms and into worlds of pure sound. Taking advantage of the acoustic environment, he varies his palette, blurring his attack from swirls of melancholy chiaroscuro to searing embers of blustery fervor.

A regular member of one of Shoup's many trios, ubiquitous bassist Reuben Radding demonstrates a far-reaching facility, alternating lithe figures with a sinewy arco technique that hemorrhages raw emotion. Whether throttling gnarled motifs, or eliciting spectral harmonics, his resonant tone and agile phrasing is captivating. A dominant force, he nearly steals the show.

Another trio-mate of Shoup's, drummer Greg Campbell, mixes his frenetic trap set palpitations with kaleidoscopic percussion and scintillating cymbal work, lending an expansive array to the session's timbral range. Pianist Gust Burns is the group's newcomer. With a modernist touch inspired by Contemporary Classical forms, he dabbles in delicate filigrees as well as pounding tone clusters, accentuating and deconstructing forms with élan.

Segueing from the cathartic to the introspective, the album encapsulates an array of aural soundscapes, from somber, melancholy reflection to roiling, unhinged fury. The quartet's empathetic dexterity is palpable, their intuitive coordination tangible. The Levitation Shuffle is a rewarding document of free improvisation from the Pacific Northwest, enabling listeners to discover a fertile, creative scene beyond the usual metropolitan centers.

Visit Wally Shoup and Reuben Radding on the web.


Track Listing: Heraldic Quadraphony; Meta-Morphed; Caressing the Cube; Meson Masons; Fins 'n Hoodoos; Stacatto Flue; Arching the Energy Puzzle.

Personnel: Wally Shoup: alto saxophone; Gust Burns: piano; Reuben Radding: bass; Greg Campbell: drums, percussion.

Title: The Levitation Shuffle | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read For You CD/LP/Track Review
For You
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 12, 2018
Read Espace Cardin 1977 CD/LP/Track Review
Espace Cardin 1977
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 12, 2018
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review
Song of No Regrets
by Peter Hoetjes
Published: November 12, 2018
Read Ay  Que Boogaloo! CD/LP/Track Review
Ay Que Boogaloo!
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 12, 2018
Read When Sunny Gets Blue: Spring ’68 Sessions CD/LP/Track Review
When Sunny Gets Blue: Spring ’68 Sessions
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 12, 2018
Read Lake Geneva CD/LP/Track Review
Lake Geneva
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 11, 2018
Read "Journey to a New World" CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Music IS" CD/LP/Track Review Music IS
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 29, 2018
Read "Wonder Trail" CD/LP/Track Review Wonder Trail
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 3, 2018
Read "Elusive Beauty" CD/LP/Track Review Elusive Beauty
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 6, 2018
Read "Postcard Collection" CD/LP/Track Review Postcard Collection
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 21, 2018
Read "The Way Home" CD/LP/Track Review The Way Home
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 23, 2017