All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

Rich Halley 4: The Wisdom of Rocks

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Over the span of a uniformly superb career, saxophonist Rich Halley and his working quartet have blended sophisticated style and unbridled vigor into impeccable performances that brim with creative energy. Their fourth release The Wisdom Of Rocks is no exception. What is unique about this provocative and exhilarating record is its unadorned beauty and mordant sound. Like the title insinuates, a pervasive theme is a raw, almost primal erudition that permeates its dozen, mostly, short tracks.

The hard-hitting "The Atoll" opens the disc with an intense sonic gust. After a powerful series of musical blows, Halley and trombonist Michael Vlatkovich's growling and rousing exchange of spontaneous ideas takes center stage. The piece also features a sophisticated and at the same time an elementally muscular duet between drummer Carson Halley's thrilling polyrhythms and bassist Clyde Reed's deep, smoky reverberations.

Collective expression is also an integral part of the album. The eerie, mystical "Faint Scattered Lights" for instance is a stark, yet multifaceted group chant that sets an expectant mood and leads into the tense and funky "The Get-Go." Here too, there is an economy of embellishment that enhances the raw passion of the original melody. Halley's incandescent tenor swaggers over simmering, percolating rhythms while Vlatkovich's growling horn follows him in the spotlight with soulful agility.

A stimulating and exemplary camaraderie marks such gems as "Tale By Two." The ardent duet between Rich Halley and his son Carson evolves elegantly and with a visceral punch as each man builds upon the other's impromptu ideas. The tightly swinging and boisterous "Of Fives And Sixes" is structured around the ensemble improvisation with each musician fading in and out of the spotlight with intelligent and fervent brief solos.

Additionally there is a fair amount of poetry, laced with an organic timeless sagacity, like a roughhewn Haiku rhyme. On the languid and contemplative "Heat In May" Carson Halley's soft brushes and Reed's wistful strings frame Vlatkovich's lyrical extemporization and Rich Halley's evocative and pensive saxophone. The achingly gorgeous and vibrant tune closes on a melancholic tone.

A tour de force, Wisdom of Rocks is a standout in Halley's superlative discography. It is simultaneously a distinctive work and an integral part of his impressive oeuvre with his current band of Vlatkovick, Reed and Carson Halley. It is electrifying, emotive and cerebral in a way only uninhibited and brilliant musicianship can be.

Track Listing: The Atoll; Trip Through Turbulence; A Brief Note; The Wisdom of Rocks; Faint Scattered Lights; The Get Go; Heat in May; Tale By Two; Radial Symmetry; The Semblance of Stealth; Of Fives and Sixes; Conversation in Blue.

Personnel: Rich Halley: tenor saxophone; Michael Vlatkovich: trombone; Clyde Reed: bass; Carson Halley: drums.

Title: The Wisdom of Rocks | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Pine Eagle Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Spuds

Spuds

Rich Halley
Back From Beyond

Requiem for a Pit Viper

Requiem for a Pit Viper

Rich Halley
Requiem For A Pit Viper

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Wild

The Wild

Pine Eagle Records
2017

buy
The Outlier

The Outlier

Pine Eagle Records
2016

buy
Eleven

Eleven

Pine Eagle Records
2016

buy
Creating Structure

Creating Structure

Pine Eagle Records
2015

buy
Eleven

Eleven

Pine Eagle Records
2015

buy
The Wisdom of Rocks

The Wisdom of Rocks

Pine Eagle Records
2014

buy

Related Articles

Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Lifelike CD/LP/Track Review
Lifelike
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Whatever Possessed Me CD/LP/Track Review
Whatever Possessed Me
by Don Phipps
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live At The Fillmore East 1968 CD/LP/Track Review
Live At The Fillmore East 1968
by Doug Collette
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read "64:38 Radio Full Liv(f)e" CD/LP/Track Review 64:38 Radio Full Liv(f)e
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts" CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Live in Japan" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Japan
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 12, 2018
Read "Alchemia Garden" CD/LP/Track Review Alchemia Garden
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 20, 2018
Read "Elvesang" CD/LP/Track Review Elvesang
by John Kelman
Published: February 17, 2018
Read "Quinsin Nachoff's Ethereal Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Quinsin Nachoff's Ethereal Trio
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 19, 2017