Shibolet / Josephson / Baker / Looney / Smith: Untitled (1959)

Nic Jones By

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All the track titles on this one are also the titles of paintings by Mark Rothko, but presumably the connection between the two ends there. Certainly the accompanying notes make nothing of it and besides which this is music profoundly in the moment, conveyed by acutely skilled free improvisers.

"White, Yellow, Red On Yellow" serves as well as any piece here to indicate how rewarding the lack of preconceived working methods can be. Soprano saxophonist, Ariel Shibolet at times strays into Evan Parker's realm of hyperactivity. Elsewhere the very broken quality of his lines suggests a player getting to his own thing even in the midst of a seeming welter of others doing so.

"White Cloud" has a miniature perfectly conceived air about it. There's an awful lot going on in the less than two minutes of its duration, with vocalist Aurora Josephson and trombonist Jen Baker seemingly engaged in some kind of private, highly measured dialogue even in the midst of the other voices. In that respect their contribution might almost be a continuation of "White Band (Number 27)" where as a duo they engage in some form of reverence for near-silence. The following duo of Josephson and Shibolet on "Three Reds" is notable for the degree of what might be called self-referencing, as if both performers instinctively know that the true meaning of creativity lies in finding and expressing the personal voice.

The notion of the miniature air comes up again on "Black, Ochre, Red Over Red." A trio of soprano sax, trombone and bass gets as close as this music ever gets to being clamorous only for swift recedence to set the seal on the activity as naturally as breathing.

Near-melancholy is the order of the day on the title track, with Shibolet's soprano sax at one point etching out a line steeped in sadness, only for the music to be seemingly led at the behest of Damon Smith's bass whilst Josephson shows passing allusion to Ellen Christi's work.

The moments captured here were undoubtedly creative ones and as such the whole program is testament to the ongoing validity of spontaneous form.

Track Listing: Number 12; Homage To Matisse; Number 61 (Brown, Blue, Brown On Blue); Yellow, Orange, Red On Orange; White, Yellow, Red On Yellow; Light, Earth And Blue; Ochre And Red On Red; White Band (Number 27); Three Reds; Blue Cloud; White Cloud; Four Reds; Black, Ochre, Red Over Red; Red, Grey, White On Yellow; Red, Black, Orange, Yellow On Yellow; Untitled (1959)

Personnel: Ariel Shibolet: soprano sax; Aurora Josephson: voice; Jen Baker: trombone; Scott R. Looney: piano; Damon Smith: bass.

Title: Untitled (1959) | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Balance Point Acoustics


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