Michael Attias – Renku in Coimbra (CF 162)
There are times when you welcome an unfamiliar name and sound to the music corpus that constitutes your listening and playing life. Other times perhaps you can be satiated and nothing gets through the jaded ears into the appreciative consciousness. Then too, it can be that only the last few listenings in a cycle of familiarity can make everything clear to your musical head.
Michael Attias got through to me as a voice that should be heard only after a couple of listens to his excellent Renku In Columbra (Clean Feed).This is a showcase for his cool-hot alto playing, a subtle commodity that charms and caresses the senses with a real facility but also a sensitive sense of phrase and form.
The album runs through several originals by Michael and the formidably propellant bassist on the date, John Hebert. Then there are rather unknown but interesting pieces by Lee Konitz and Jimmy Lyons, one apiece.
Besides Hebert, drummer Satoski Takeishi adds a groovingly out presence. Russ Lossing joins the fray on piano for one cut.
This is improvisation as high art. Attias and Hebert are masterful, impressive, loquacious. Takeishi is alternately bombastic and playful, subtle and driving.
It shows that Michael Attias can create a sound on the alto that has a classic ring to it–cool like the coolists, hot like the new thingers, but filled with really interesting and original phrasing. These cats can swing and they can tumble out of time. They do either like they own their music, authoritatively. I am happy to get a chance to hear Attias and company hold forth so effectively on Renku. You might well feel the same way.