This recording is a free-form, freewheeling delight. It's new music from a piano-less group, but the spirit is so playful, the soundscapes are so simple and rich, and the playing is so accomplished and together, that this "dense" and "complicated" new music falls richly and beautifully on the ears.
As a composer, Andrew Bishop's palette encompasses a broad spectrum of musicfrom jazz and blues to rock, folk and international to the wold of "serious" contemporary music. This is his debut recording, leading a knockout trio which knows and feels his sensibilities and keeps the invention coming. The other musicians are fellow Michiganersdrummer Gerald Cleaver and bassist Tim Floodand the three make a universe of sounds out of Bishop's shorter sound pieces and more extended journeys. The album, amazingly enough, draws its original inspiration from principles of physics, but it's music that bursts with light and creativity.
"Cleaver's Loops" turns on the rhythmic repetitions of the drummer, and the other players joyously bash out complementary swirls of color that feel like minimalism but also theme and variations. It's got the rhythmic and harmonic intensity of a Coltrane foray, but it's more buoyant and changing.
On "For Whom the Bell Tolls" Bishop uses the tenor's overtones to create a sense of ambient stillness; the bass and drums quietly add pointillistic splashes of additional sound painting. The forty-second tenor groove "Fragment" leads to another jaunty trip, "Picking Up the Pieces," and this is much the way the whole album goes. Every tune sounds somehow planned and beautifully random, and the sequencing feels smart thoughtout, like it's just come up in a bold set of live music. There is an intense, frenetic passion in the groove of "People's Republic," and then the set surprises with the quiet stillness of "Go to Sleep," a lullaby where Bishop, on clarinet, uses a melody he sang to his son.
Time and Imaginary Time blends the power of rhythm with the intimacy of invention to present an extraordinary amount of quality music.
Track Listing: Prologue; Cleaver's Loops; Fragments on a Curve, to Find; For Whom the Bell Tolls; Fragment;
Picking Up the Pieces; Fragments in Imaginary Time; Go to Sleep! (for Oliver); (Shattered
Fragments) Pt. 1; People's Republic; (Shattered Fragments) Pt. 2; Get It!; Epilogue.
Personnel: Andrew Bishop: tenor, soprano saxophones, clarinet; Gerald Cleaver: drums; Tim Flood: bass.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.