Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

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

More Articles

Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Glow of Benares CD/LP/Track Review Glow of Benares
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Magic Circle CD/LP/Track Review Magic Circle
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 12, 2017
Read A Gathering Foretold CD/LP/Track Review A Gathering Foretold
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Swinging In The Holidays CD/LP/Track Review Swinging In The Holidays
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 11, 2017
Read "At This Time: Duets" CD/LP/Track Review At This Time: Duets
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 6, 2017
Read "Samba Para a Vida" CD/LP/Track Review Samba Para a Vida
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 7, 2017
Read "The Behemoth" CD/LP/Track Review The Behemoth
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Retrorespective" CD/LP/Track Review Retrorespective
by Phillip Woolever
Published: June 15, 2017
Read "Blue Skylight" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Skylight
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 12, 2017
Read "Open Air" CD/LP/Track Review Open Air
by John Kelman
Published: June 2, 2017

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!