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Vinny Golia Sextet: Trajectory

Mark Corroto By

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Walking in the canyons of a big city like New York or in the old-growth forests of California Redwoods, it is almost impossible to acquire perspective. One cannot stand back far enough to take in the enormity of the scene. It is best to embrace the hugeness and enjoy the experience. The same can be said of Trajectory by The Vinny Golia Sextet. The two discs and sixteen tracks are the musical equivalent of Jonathan Swift's Brobdingnag, land of giants.

Multi-reedist Vinny Golia has always been about giantism and he is a multi-instrumentalist, having mastered multiple saxophones, clarinets, flutes, bassoon, taragato, English horn, strich, and numerous percussion instruments. His music has always been about abnormally massive projects, from his fifty-piece Large Ensemble down to his solo recordings and duos with Nels Cline. His discography is also enormous, with the recently-discovered Live At The Century City Playhouse -Los Angeles, 1979 (Dark Tree, 2017), a recording with John Carter and Bobby Bradford, lending a bit of perspective on this great artist.

So, too, does this recording with his sextet, one which follows Abstractions And Retrocausalities (Nine Winds, 2011). Made up of fellow West Coast musicians, the sextet includes alto saxophonist Gavin Templeton (Nels Cline), trumpeter Daniel Rosenboom (Burning Ghosts), guitarist Alexander Noice, bassist Miller Wrenn, and drummer Andrew Lessman. The music, like the titles, is always expanding upon some very taut and complex arrangements. The closest reference points to Golia's sextet music might be Steve Coleman's M-BASE productions and that of Steve Lehman. Then again, these are West Coast musicians and the language is their own. They draw as much energy from rock as from jazz; "Ananaki (what they left..?)" begins with (I swear) a bass-line from the punk band Fugazi, before complicating matters with a dense and nearly-impenetrable arrangement of instruments. The complexity of this composition and many of the others always opens into some outward improvisation. Packed between the arrangements, the electricity of guitar and bass, and some muscular drum-work are some mesmerizing solos, which could easily get lost in the immense forest that is this recording.

Track Listing: CD1: Ts’emekwe (as real as any hoax can be?); OK Doctor Xavier, I guess only women have …them (no, not those, we have them too…) - Take 1; Ugly Bags of Mostly Water (I knew some people like that once…); Dr. Loomis, Welcome Back To The Hospital; The Penabus (going to Leyte soon, can you get me one?); Spaniard’s Dilemma, which coffuire to choose -for John T…(no not him); By The End Of The Day…; Ananaki (what they left..?); CD2: OK Doctor Xavier, I guess only women have ...them (no, not those, we have them too...) - Take 2; From The Piano Comes This…(All the colors of the rainbow-for Hugues); Sparks or Dare..for Elizabeth or Eleanor (have you ever been to Roanoke?); Gift of the Nile; Just Like The Older Ones (A message from space…); Modred’s Curse (Ares Vallis?); Night time messages (not exactly as planned but still ok…); Well, It’s a valuable appendage…Jack Burton has paid his dues, the check is in the mail….

Personnel: Vinny Golia - bull roarer, zun, singing bowls, gongs & bells, bass drum, sopranino saxophone, Bb saxophone, G soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, Eb flute, G clarinet, Eb clarinet, contra alto clarinet, fujara; Gavin Templeton: alto saxophone; Daniel Rosenboom: trumpet, flugelhorn; Alexander Noice; electric guitar & pedals; Miller Wrenn: acoustic bass, electric bass; Andrew Lessman: drums, percussion.

Title: Trajectory | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Orenda Records/Nine Winds

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