All About Jazz-New York review by Stuart Broomer

Michaël Attias – Twines of Colesion (CF 188 )
This is the second Clean Feed release by alto saxophonist Michäel Attias from a three-day stand in 2008 at the Jazz ao Centro festival in Coimbra, Portugal. A previous studio session featured his trio, with bassist John Hébert and drummer Satoshi Takeishi, called Renku after a collaborative form of Japanese poetry. If the band name wasn’t already in use, Attias could apply it here. The group heard in performance recordings here is a quintet with tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby and pianist Russ Lossing as well as Hébert and Takeishi, a collection of musicians that appear regularly in various permutations and settings. One of the most notable is Hébert’s Byzantine Monkey, a band including Attias, Malaby and Takeishi. The musicians share a positive and open affiliation and what may be most remarkable is the very different feel of this band from Hébert’s, with genuine contrasts in compositional styles. While the bassist is more of a melodicist, Attias creates complex, multi-part themes that are tonally elusive and develop shifting layers of harmony and rhythm. The group takes these themes and turns them into fluid, intense music, evanescent works that seem to weave in and out of form and focus with an unusual organic unity. The long opening “(New) Loom” moves through rubato ruminations to angular freebop, feeding the central stylistic contrast between Attias’ clear, linear, singing alto and Malaby’s gruffly vocalic, omni-directional tenor with its sudden multiphonics and barnyard squawks. Another notable composition is “Lisbon”, which develops tremendous internal tension with an extended theme statement that’s at once dirge-like and abstract. A sense of individual voice and collective dialogue appears throughout the band, whether it’s Hébert’s subtle glissandos in his introduction to “Lisbon” or Takeishi’s control of pitch bends on small cymbals on “Le Puis Noir”. Lossing adds a rich orchestral dimension as well as some explosive solos. While Attias is clearly an inspired improviser, Twines of Colesion also emphasizes his significant talents as a bandleader and composer.

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