The Brooklyn-based quartet Search is molded after Ornette Coleman
's classic quartet. Reed player Matthew Maly, trumpeter RJ Avallone, bassist David Moss and drummer Bryson Kern worked on their debut, Today Is Tomorrow
, for two years, with continued encouragement from Coleman himself and additional assistance from Coleman's Prime Time/current bassist Al McDowell, who beautifully captured the sonic language of Search in his studio. Search succeeds in delivering the same telepathic interplay and complex-yet-loose rhythmic flow as Coleman's quartet, and charges its original compositions with the same spirit of humanity and compassion, often translated into bold political statements.
But Search is by no means a tribute ensemble. The quartet embraces Coleman's musical innovations and philosophy only as means to find its own true voice. It is a mature voice that clearly extends and enhances Coleman's legacy in an impressive, original manner. The sound of Search differs from Coleman's quartet by being more spacious and, as the recurrent metaphor of the liner notes state, following the deep breaths of the quartet's membersand the intervals between those breaths.
The opening "Blues If It Is" demonstrates this breath-based philosophy. The seemingly simple straightforward blues scale is turned upside down as Search shifts between meters, alternating leading roles but maintaining the loose theme throughout, all accentuated by distinct breath intervals.
"Herds" is inspired by a muezzin's call to prayer in Brooklyn, and revolves around a whirling sax and trumpet theme. Stressed by the loose polyrhythmic playing of Moss and Kern, it offers a unique harmonic gathering, as in a religious prayer. "Uncivil Obedience" is a nervous meditation on the consumer-worshipping American way of life. "Intentions" brings to mind the same unison lines of young Coleman with trumpeter Don Cherry, as Maly and Avallone manage to replicate their own close affinity and telepathic understanding. Similarly, the slow ballad "Next" emphasizes the gentle breathing sounds of the sax and trumpet.
The tribal "Joujouka" references the latter-day musical journeys of Cherry with Codona, and has an infectious theme. Led by Avallone, who adds wooden flutes to mix, it suggests the trance-infused theme of the mystic Joujouka musicians of Morocco.
"The Laws of Gravity" brings Search back into a tight-yet-open form of improvisation over a loose theme. The sad, haunting ballad "Milena" tells the story of a floating survivor in the Caribbean, moments before her inevitable drowning, and her reconciliation with her last corporeal moments. "Breathe" is a much more groove-based theme, alluding to the R&B roots of Coleman's musical world.
The closing "Day Terrors/It's All Right Now" capture the neurotic current reality, with its conflicting messages, where one has to stand up and raise his voice in order to bring peace and comfort.
Blues If It Is; Herds; Uncivil Obedience; Intentions; Next; Joujouka; The Laws Of Gravity; Milena; Breathe; Day Terrors - It's Alright Now.
Matthew Maley: tenor saxophone, clarinet; RJ Avallone: trumpet, wooden flute; David Moss: bass; Bryson Kern: drums.