All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

326

The OtherTet: The OtherTet

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
The seemingly innocuously titled The OtherTet is far from an exercise in making-music in a modern idiom. A generation ago, speculation would be rife about minimalism and atonalism, terms that are laughable in today's context of existential angst. Therefore, when contemporary musical compositions delve into the macabre and the irony of contemporary existence a new idiom is born. One that combines the lament of the blues with the expressive rhythmic riches of Afro- centricity and the reinvention of music on brass and strings. In the hands of artists such as trombonist/tubaist, Bill Lowe cornetist/flugelhornist Taylor Ho Bynum, bassist, Joe Morris and percussionist Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng, the artistic endeavor is raised to the level of high art. The fine line between cacophony and magisterial music is always bridged and never crossed, not through seven surly compositions that belong to this journey called The OtherTet

In what may be a clever play on words, Tet might refer to the legendary violent expedition in Indochina almost 50 years ago. It also draws a comparison between that black op and the assaults on true human progress today, throwing the later into oblique, but sharp focus. "One Other" and "Cold Day Clip" combine Afro-blue modes in relatively free time, thanks to Obeng's inspired polyrhythms. On "Cold Day Clip," Morris does a masterly job of shaking up the walking flow of the song and then playing against Obeng's melodic talking drums. By the time Bynum rejoins the ensemble towards the latter third of Lowe's wonderfully sinister piece, the singular loneliness of The Last Post is strongly evoked.

Lowe is especially unforgettable on "Naptown/Trenton" and "Cold Day Snap," playing both tuba and bass trombone. He uses multiple overtones to enrich the dark narrative that holds the compositions together in riveting manner, while Morris' bass weaves the magical carpet of sound together. Bynum's "Dreamsketch" and "Look Below" are characteristically puckish in their walking manner, and feature Lowe, the cornetist's musical partner for several decades, while he adds almost piano-like glissandi on his own short horn. The other three group efforts round off this truly alienating set in the grand Brecht-ian manner.

While the suggestion of a socialist agenda may be inimical in today's North America, there is no escaping the somewhat strident instrumentation that portends the imminent destruction of capitalistic stasis. Urban music comes redolent with many splendored examples. The music of The OtherTet is a fine testament to committed artistry.

Track Listing: One Other; Naptown/Trenton; DreamSketch; Cold Day Clip; Tet Two; Look Below; Bill's Idea.

Personnel: Bill Lowe: bass trombone, tuba; Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet, flugelhorn; Joe Morris: acoustic bass; Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng: drumset, percussion.

Title: The OtherTet | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Engine Studios

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Outsidethebox CD/LP/Track Review
Outsidethebox
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 16, 2018
Read There Are Stars In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review
There Are Stars In Brooklyn
by James Fleming
Published: October 16, 2018
Read The Seasons of Being CD/LP/Track Review
The Seasons of Being
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 16, 2018
Read Passages CD/LP/Track Review
Passages
by Don Phipps
Published: October 16, 2018
Read Picture in Black and White CD/LP/Track Review
Picture in Black and White
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: October 15, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 15, 2018
Read "Barxeta II" CD/LP/Track Review Barxeta II
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 19, 2018
Read "Straight Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Straight Forward
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 14, 2018
Read "West Coast Trio" CD/LP/Track Review West Coast Trio
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 24, 2018
Read "Sound Plan" CD/LP/Track Review Sound Plan
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 6, 2018
Read "We Are" CD/LP/Track Review We Are
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 1, 2018
Read "You're Driving Me Crazy" CD/LP/Track Review You're Driving Me Crazy
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 23, 2018