Bush Tetras drummer Dee Pop has branched out from his rock career to become an important figure in the downtown NYC avant jazz scene, curating the Sunday night concert series at CB's Lounge and performing with many of the genre's current leading players. He is joined for this recording by multi-wind players Daniel Carter, David Hofstra, and David Sewelson, as well as bassist William Parker. The sound world favored by Freedomland on Yia Yia's Song is unusual, with both Parker and Hofstra doubling on tuba and Sewelson doubling on baritone saxophone. Often, the group creates sonorous chords with a thick low end, offset by florid and fanciful treble improvisations from Carter's trumpet, alto sax, clarinet, or flute; his flute solo on the title track is particularly impressive in its invention.
Despite supplying a bass register bent akin to that of the nineties rock group Morphine, Freedomland never lets this singular sound land them in a rut. Even on extended pieces, such as "One Green Eye," "One Blue Eye," and "Don't Throw Out the Sky," all of which clock in at around a quarter hour apiece, the quintet makes ample shifts in texture, tempo, and demeanor, creating free improvisations with considerable balance and shape. Pop and Parker have a particularly sympathetic interplay, in a flexible beat context that retains quite a bit of swing. Although the harmonic vocabulary is frequently post-tonal, Parker's use of ostinato bass lines, Carter's keen melodic sensibilities, and the penchant for sustained legato shared by Hofstra and Sewelson create an avant album with a surprisingly lush ambience. As such, Yia Yia's Song is a winning mix of adventure and visceral beauty.
1. Don't Throw Out the Sky
2. Yia Yia's Song
3. One Green Eye
4. Moonbeams in a Jar
5. One Blue Eye
Daniel Carter: tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, and flute;
David Hofstra: tuba and bass saxophone;
William Parker: bass and tuba;
Dee Pop: drum set;
Dave Sewelson: baritone and alto saxophones.
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