Daily Archives: July 26, 2010

Público review by Rodrigo Amado

Os ritmatistas

Dois dos mais talentosos e complexos saxofonistas alto da nova geração gravam, ao vivo, um dos seus melhores trabalhos.

Rudresh Mahanthappa / Steve Lehman – Dual Identity (CF 172)
4,5 estrelas

Rudresh Mahanthappa, músico de origem indiana que há muito reside nos Estados unidos, e Steve Lehman, possuem ambos um invulgar talento como saxofonistas, tendo-se afirmado há muito como virtuosos absolutos e inovadores na abordagem altamente pessoal que fazem ao jazz. Embora tenham já ambos, particularmente Mahanthappa, uma discografia de referência que passa por álbuns obrigatórios como “Travail, Transformation and Flow” (Lehman), “Reimagining” (Mahanthappa com Vijay Iyer) e Codebook” (Mahanthappa), faltava-lhes ultrapassar uma barreira emocional que levava muitos a rotular a sua música como fria ou cerebral. A extrema angularidade do seu fraseado e a complexidade da teia rítmica que envolve as composições de ambos não desapareceram, mas há uma orgânica presente neste “Dual Identity”, gravado ao vivo no Festival de Jazz de Braga, que se torna determinante para que seja este, talvez, o disco mais caloroso de sempre de ambos os saxofonistas. Para isso concorre uma excelente secção rítmica, formada por Matt Brewer (contrabaixo) e Damion Reid (bateria), e um fabuloso guitarrista, Liberty Ellman, responsável por alguns dos momentos mais fortes do álbum, particularmente em “Circus”, caleidoscópio rítmico da autoria de Mahanthappa recuperado de “Mother Tongue”. Destaque também para o groove poderoso de “1010”, com uma excelente introdução do contrabaixo de Brewer. Numa música feita de contrapontos rítmicos de alto impacto, Mahanthappa e Lehman tocam com uma entrega total e uma enorme empatia entre os dois, construindo uma entidade musical abstracta que se apresenta como o paradigma do jazz moderno; composições originais fortíssimas, arranjos fluentes e precisos, músicos com uma capacidade técnica fora do vulgar e improvisações vibrantes e criativas…desta vez com muita emoção.

JazzWord review by Glenn Astarita

John Hebert Trio – Spiritual Lover (CF 175)
Bassist John Hebert and his venerable band-mates generally reside within the core progressive-jazz and free-jazz realms.  And many of these genres or stylizations are represented here, although there is a twist.  Featuring Benoit Delbecq’s s wily clavinet and synth performances, Hebert leads the trio into an unorthodox string of musical events, starkly evident on the opener “Spiritual Lover.”  Here, the keyboardist’s sparse, single note clavinet notes and electronics treatments cast a mood that is akin to an ethereal lullaby.  However, diversity is part of the musicians’ key to success.

Delbecq also uses an acoustic piano as the band delves into free-spirited world-music patterns and other movements that are designed with delicacy or quietly rumbling undercurrents.  The musicians’ intersperse playfully haunting motifs with quaint melodies and sinewy lines.  Hebert’s broad and fluent bass phrasings offer a bit of counterpoint, other than solidifying the rhythms with drummer Gerald Cleaver.  Moreover, the artists pronounce wit and a semi-strenuous approach.

The band renders a misty-eyed ballad, abetted by Delbecq’s light touch on “La Rêve Eveillé.”  Yet Delbecq executes a gravelly and echo-laden synth groove atop the rhythm section’s swarming pulse during “Here’s That Rainy Day.” Consequently, Delbecq projects a nouveau spin on the clavinet, looming as a facet that tenders a fresh outlook, or a new wine in old bottles type game-plan. Simply stated Hebert and associates inject lucid imagery and a deeply-personalized set of characterizations, spiced with enticing panoramas throughout this intriguing session.

All About Jazz review by Chris May

Tom Rainey Trio – Pool School (CF 185)
Though there are more substantial things to observe about Brooklyn-based drummer Tom Rainey’s Pool School, let’s start by saying that the disc’s hand-tinted, faux 1930s cover art is among the more stylish to have emerged so far in 2010. And even if the imagery is most immediately resonant of summer in Portugal, the Clean Feed label’s home turf, intentionally or not, there is a connection to the music on the metal (yes, it does have something to do with deep ends).

Remarkably, the album is the first to be released under his own name by ninja of nuance Rainey, from the early 1990s a prominent figure on New York’s Downtown scene. In a 2004 interview with All About Jazz, he declared himself creatively fulfilled by his role as sideman/collaborator, “playing with friends who trust me,” and revealed no plans to form his own band. Whatever it may be that has caused him to change his mind, ears laugh at their good fortune.

The two friends who collaborate with Rainey here are guitarist Mary Halvorson and saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, each a major new voice on her instrument. Both can create intensely visceral music yet are equally at home on more cerebral, long-form material, be it pre-composed or improvised. Both are sonic adventurers significantly extending the lexicons of their instruments. Stir in Rainey’s yin/yang rhythmatism and fascination follows.

The album has echoes of Laubrock’s wholly in-the-moment, collective improv suite, Sleepthief (Intakt, 2009), on which Rainey made up a trio with pianist Liam Noble; though not completely improvised, Pool School has a high ratio of sustained, unscripted, collective invention. But variety of atmosphere and form is a hallmark of the set. The 12 tracks move adroitly between the composed and the improvised, the inside and the outside, the sun lounger and the deep end. It’s often impossible to tell where the one starts and the other begins.

Is the wonderfully synchronous coming together of all three players which happens on “Pool School” itself 2:38 minutes in, for instance, the result of experience and empathy or pre-planning? Similar moments occur throughout the disc—some, such as “Home Opener”‘s halfway transition from the voluptuous to the spiky and “Coney”‘s reverse direction shift, sounding as though they were deliberated in advance by the musicians.

Well, anyway. In the end, the precise route taken doesn’t matter. This playful, empathetic trio hits the spot, and Pool School reveals new pleasures with each repeated spin.