411

Mark O'Leary / Kenny Wollensen / Jamie Saft: The Synth Show

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count
Mark O'Leary / Kenny Wollensen / Jamie Saft: The Synth Show Irish guitarist Mark O'Leary has built a nice relationship with Leo Records over the last few years, having recorded for the label with Mat Maneri, Matthew Shipp, Eyvind Kang, Uri Caine, Steve Swallow and others. O'Leary seems to favor the trio setting and enjoys throwing himself into new contexts. His ninth Leo release, The Synth Show, with Kenny Wollesen on percussion and Jamie Saft on synthesizer, may be his most surprising outing yet.

Saft and Wollesen are certainly knowledgeable about jazz, but tend to step further from the tradition than many of O'Leary's past associates. As such, The Synth Show is always in a slow and easy flux. The title doesn't put forth a lead player, but it does suggest a lead instrument and Saft's axes (analog synthesizers seem to be used through much or all of the record) very much set the tone for the session.

At times the trio doesn't seem to be playing together at all: jazz licks and electronic gurgles swirl over slow marches and washes. Then two of the three will seem to lock in, creating an inverted pyramid with the 'soloist' in the rear. But they do this with an easiness; they're not wandering looking for each other but wandering together, like a search party dividing up patches of ground together. It's spacey in a mellow Krautrock way, or jazzy in a trippy fusion way. Either way, it's an easy but unusual listen.

Ultimately, the record feels like an exercise, albeit an interesting one. The synth—the star of the show—is always percolating with new suggestions and the others respond, or don't respond, nicely. It never quite goes anywhere, but maybe it's not meant to.

Track Listing: Eva; Persona; Into the Abyss; Tuzla; Sky Kirk; Texas; Elysian Plains; Critical Mass; Oxygen; For Ingmar Bergman; Dr. Who Theme/Playing the Himalayas.

Personnel: Mark O'Leary: guitar, e-bow, soundscapes; Kenny Wollenson: drums; percussion; Jamie Saft: synthesizer.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Leo Records | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
In the Artist's Own Words
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Right Up On CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Wanderlust CD/LP/Track Review Wanderlust
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Imagination CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Evolution CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read On A Monday Evening CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Smooth Shake" CD/LP/Track Review Smooth Shake
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "La Sombra" CD/LP/Track Review La Sombra
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "Festen" CD/LP/Track Review Festen
by John Sharpe
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "The Invariant" CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Triple Exposure" CD/LP/Track Review Triple Exposure
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "The Catfish" CD/LP/Track Review The Catfish
by Chris Mosey
Published: February 15, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

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!