2

Endangered Blood: Work Your Magic

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Endangered Blood: Work Your Magic Work Your Magic is the sophomore follow-up to Endangered Blood's self-titled 2011 Skirl Records debut. The acoustic quartet features an all-star lineup, with Human Feel's Chris Speed and Jim Black joined by fellow Skirl label mates Oscar Noriega and Trevor Dunn. First named The Benefit Band, the group was initially formed in 2008 to help Human Feel saxophonist Andrew D'Angelo pay for medical bills; D'Angelo eventually recovered and the band decided to stay together.

Subtly expanding upon its previous release, the ensemble extends the piano-less quartet tradition pioneered by Ornette Coleman in a stylistically eclectic, albeit sonically cohesive fashion. Facilitating a wide range of tone colors for their adventurous excursions, Speed and Noriega each double on instruments; Speed contrasts his robust tenor saxophone playing with lissome clarinet refrains, while Noriega alternates between sinuous alto saxophone variations and exotic musings on bass clarinet. Conforming to the unit's deliberately unamplified palette, Dunn plies nimble contrabass lines that perfectly underscore Black's engagingly rambunctious polyrhythms, their unified sense of timing impeccable, yet pliant.

Although Noriega contributes the dolorous "Nice Try," Speed once again acts as the group's primary composer, with a rousing cover of Icelandic guitarist Hilmar Jensson's "International Four" rounding out the program. The minimalist repetition of interweaving contrapuntal lines is one of Speed's preferred structural devices, as hypnotic tunes like "Kaffibarinn" and "Ah-Le-Pa" bear out; the lush instrumental latticework of the former and fervent rhythmic break-down in the latter keenly demonstrate the strength of his writing. Similarly enthralling, the cubist theme of "Manzanita" culminates in a state of anthemic fervor, bolstered by Noriega's caterwauling bass clarinet, while the nostalgic closer "LA#5" offers a modernistic spin on old-fashioned balladry, spotlighting Speed's languid tenor channeling Lester Young's breathy lyricism.

One of Endangered Blood's most salient traits is its dedicated embrace of improvisation within the context of composed forms, an aspect not as readily apparent in some of the members' flagship bands; Black's AlasNoAxis and Speed's yeah NO rely primarily on prewritten frameworks, with limited space allocated for spontaneous detours. Work Your Magic inverts that dynamic, especially on traditionally minded pieces, including the deconstructed "Blues in C Flat Minor" and the muscular swinger "Argento," which allow these talented soloists ample opportunity to shine on their respective instruments, echoing the album's title with mantra-like sentiment.


Track Listing: Kaffibarinn; Blues in C Flat Minor; Ah-Le-Pa; Argento; Manzanita; Nice Try; International Four; LA#5.

Personnel: Chris Speed: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Oscar Noriega: alto saxophone, bass clarinet; Trevor Dunn: bass; Jim Black: drums.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Skirl Records


Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Seven Storey Mountain V" CD/LP/Track Review Seven Storey Mountain V
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 28, 2016
Read "Warsaw Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Warsaw Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "Absurdist Theater" CD/LP/Track Review Absurdist Theater
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "Guitarist, Alone" CD/LP/Track Review Guitarist, Alone
by John Eyles
Published: August 5, 2016
Read "Out On The Coast" CD/LP/Track Review Out On The Coast
by Joe Gatto
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "The Caustic Ballads" CD/LP/Track Review The Caustic Ballads
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 27, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!