Ingebrigt Haker Flaten New York Quartet: Now IS (CF 263)
The term “texture” is often used when referring to an artist’s work. The surfaces of German painter Gerhard Richter or American Jackson Pollock’s paintings are rich with tactile feel, but the trained viewer can also appreciate the art below the cosmetic. The same applies to the quartet of improvisers organized by Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten.
Best known for his work in the bands Atomic, The Thing, Paul Giallorenzo Trio, and Free Fall, since moving to Texas Flaten has founded both The Young Mothers and the Ingebrigt Håker Flaten Chicago Sextet. The bassist is comfortable in both the jazz and alternative worlds. Here, the music is instantly composed with saxophonist Joe McPhee—with whom Flaten also recorded the duo date Brooklyn DNA (Clean Feed, 2012)—guitarist Joe Morris and trumpeter Nate Wooley.
Clocking in at a brief 39 minutes, the disc packs more punch than many lengthier sessions. The quartet eschews noodling for precision; there is nothing casual about this encounter. Morris, who often doubles on bass, is a most sympathetic companion for Flaten, as are McPhee (equally skilled on trumpet) and Wooley.
Together, this drummer-less quartet floats differing pulses, favoring interactions such as the conversation between Morris and Flaten on “Pent,” and Wooley’s fluttering notes against bowed bass on “Knicks.” The startling speed of “Giants” represents a heart-pounding four minutes of spontaneous felicity, while Wooley and Flaten open “As If” by setting the table for the quartet’s harmonies. McPhee and Morris slide inside this and other pieces, working each track and maintaining the originator’s framework. Each brief improvisation—the longest running 9:34 and the shortest a brief 2:13—is a well-woven tapestry of sound.