Tag Archives: CF 304

Free Jazz review by Paul Acquaro

Not so long ago, I had the pleasure of seeing a gig that paired up saxophonist Tony Malaby, drummer Gerald Cleaver, and bassist Ingebrit Haker-Flaten at the tin foil lined JACK Arts in Brooklyn. The music from the trio was just cooking. There was a point in the groups playng when there was no longer a group, but a THING. To start this review, I thought I would first share a video of the gig – expand it to full screen and enjoy:

CF304Tony Malaby’s Tamarindo – Somos Agua (CF 304)
****
The release concert for this gem was at the Cornelia Street Cafe, a tiny sliver of old Greenwich Village – from a time before all the frozen yogurt, macaroon shops and luxury condos. You can still line up to squeeze into the basement of the club and enjoy some insanely good music. Malaby’s Tamarindo hit the stage there last year to play ‘selections’ from Somos Agua, or rather, music like you may find on Somos Agua, because as far as I can tell, this is music that can only really happen once.

This release though does a great job capturing the trio, sounding as alive on the CD as they did on the stage that night. Between the interactions of bassist William Parker, drummer Nasheet Waits, and of course saxophonist Malaby, there is so much to hear. The great strength of Tamarindo, to my ears, is the way Malaby will play inside, outside and all around his saxophone, but never once will it sound out of place with whatever else is happening. Maybe it’s Waits, whose drumming can be subtle and reactionary, exploratory and reserved, or rumbling and aggressive like on the opening “Mule Skinner”. Or maybe credit goes to William Parker, whose participation on a session does not necessarily guarantee its success, but seems to come pretty damn close. His playing, whether arco or plucking a pulsating bass-line, directs individual embers into a mighty conflagration. But no, the credit goes to the whole combination, a trio of musicians who really know how to craft a sound.

As I write this, it may seem that Somos Aguas is a powerhouse of a album, burning on all cylinders, And while these three are more than capable of making your old CD player combust, here they often hold back the volume a bit and explore the tensions and textures. The follow up to Mule Skinner is ‘Lorretto’, in which space is used along with light extended technique to evoke a certain melancholy. ‘*matik-Matik*’, up next, is an upbeat tune that relies on a tasty melody that spins our of Malaby’s horn over time. Here, Parker and Waits syncopated play gives Malaby something in which to get entangled. the group expertly turns up the heat on this one – it is an absolute album highlight. Honestly, almost the same can be said about “Can’t Find You …”, another slow build that reaches an apex and then crumbles wonderfully as the trio deconstructs what they just built.

This outing from Tamarindo is really enjoyable, all three are master at their craft and what they accomplish together is certainly well crafted, but free and exciting. By amping up the quiet – so to speak – Somos Agua’s high points are that much higher and the quieter stretches are nuanced and captivating.

CF318Tony Malaby’s TubaCello – Scorpion Eater (CF 318)
****
“This band has a different type of gravity that playing with just a bassist simply doesn’t have,” writes Tony Malaby about Tubacello, the group behind his latest Clean Feed recording Scorpion Eater. Needless to say, Tubacello, a new configuration for the saxophonist, is a bottom heavy combination – with tuba and cello adding new textures and sounds that are not too often heard in free jazz.

The group joining Malaby is Chris Hoffman on cello, Dan Peck on tuba and John Hollenbeck on drums. It’s not just the instrumentation that make it different, but really in how they jell. In fact, after giving this a listen, I am reminded a bit of how the fantastic Dogon A.D. from Julius Hemphill made my jaw drop when I first heard it – especially in regards to how the cello introduced such rough hewn textures to the lurching grooves. Forty three years later, Scorpion Eater, though a much different recording, still introduces something unexpected and moving in its rich sonority.

The low frequency of the combo is really quite versatile and gives Malaby a lot of room to experiment. For example, on ”Buried’, which opens the recording, the track beings mid sentence, so to speak. The group, already in full motion, shows off its full range of sound and fury between a syncopated melody that introduces and ends the short piece, and leads into the uptempo ‘Trout Shot’. The track ‘Fur’ is a textural piece with sounds floating in the background as the instruments play slow measured lines. ‘March (For Izumi)’ sees the sax playing in the upper register with the cello providing counter motion in the lower middle, while Peck ably handles the bass role. ‘Bearded Braid’ slows things down. The ambient piece unfolds slowly, each instrument taking an extended solo as the song builds to an intense climax.

Tubacello’s instrumentation opens a lot of interesting possibilities – whether it’s providing a ambient canvass on which to build his ideas slowly, or creating deep and effective grooves, the combination works.

http://www.freejazzblog.org/2015/01/tony-malaby-tamarindo-tubacello.html

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Point of Departure review by Greg Buium

CF304Tony Malaby’s Tamarindo – Somos Agua (CF 304)
Somos Agua, the third album from Tony Malaby’s trio, Tamarindo, is dense and demanding and may, in some quarters, feel too oblique to merit a second try. Malaby’s sound, especially on tenor saxophone, but on soprano as well, is often subterranean – filled, as it is, with dead ends and these jerky, knotted lines that pull you under, over, and, ultimately, a long way from the figures he’s composed. Unlike his last Clean Feed disc, Novela (2011) – a nonet expertly arranged by pianist Kris Davis – or some of his work as a sideman (from, say, Eivind Opsvik’s Overseas to John Hollenbeck’s large ensemble), where he also sways from husky, multiphonic shards to wicked, pinpoint puzzles, Somos Agua’s signposts blur. For nearly 60 minutes you feel thrown into a maze.

But what an incredible maze it is. Somos Aqua rewards close, sustained listening. It is filled with queries and quickly shifting scenes and the very highest levels of musical interaction. Tamarindo is often billed as a saxophone trio. It isn’t. Malaby is the only horn, but bassist William Parker and drummer Nasheet Waits aren’t accompanists. This is a cooperative, and an extremely accomplished operation.

Malaby’s six pieces run together like a loose, stripped-down suite. Every motif seems to have sprung from an aspect of the group’s aesthetic; the lines mirror how these men work. So a sharp, lock-step figure (“Little Head”) grows into a sprawling, bouncing improvisation. A subtle, seemingly scripted call-and-response (“*matik-matik*”) becomes an electrifying swinger. Everything is drawn for three. The finale (“Somos Agua”), the date’s only open piece, deepens the intensity of the trio investigation: Parker’s grave, arco introduction, Malaby’s squall – husky and stuttering and poised – as the three examine and reexamine, prod and poke, rummaging in the minute spaces between sound and rhythm.

If this trio has very few peers, Waits’s performance should land on its own end-of-the-year lists. His command of the drum set can be frightening. On “Can’t Find You…,” perhaps the record’s high point, his panorama of percussive color and control sets everything in motion. He’ll reassemble the time. He’ll spur the drama. Midway in, things drop down. Waits pauses, before an uprush (cymbals, snare, high-hat, tom), a swirling, driving, terrifically complex notion of time, as things fade, and a remarkable 20-second roll. Parker’s pulse snaps Malaby and Waits into play and, out of nothing, the drummer conjures up a magnificent bounce. It takes 10 extraordinary minutes to get here: a rugged abstraction morphing into a gallop and an unforgettable groove.

http://www.pointofdeparture.org/PoD48/PoD48MoreMoments4.html

Jazz Word review by Ken Waxman

CF 304Tony Malaby Tamarindo – Somos Agua (CF 304)
An essay on the intricacies of saxophone improvisation, New York tenor man Tony Malaby explorers every nuance of reed sounds on this matchless session, backed only by the four-square pacing of William Parker’s double bass and the rhythmic flow of drummer Nasheet Waits. Reminiscent of similar trio tours-de-force by Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson, the seven selections make up a suite whose parts flow logically and seamlessly into one another. At the same time, Malaby’s solos confirm his experimental credo by exposing as many split tones and screeches as emotive flutters and gentling tones.
Never losing sight of the tonal even as his solo explorations appear to produce aural x-rays of his horn’s insides, on the title track the saxophonist’s output is unhurried and relaxed enough to reference the initial theme, even as his dense multiphonics squeeze the last atom of sound out of his horn. Parker’s power stops or sensitive bowing, plus Waits’ crunches and clatters aptly second the saxophone flights. Nonetheless, the most edifying example of the Tamarindo trio’s game plan is the 14-minute “Can’t Find You”. Despite the title, there’s never a moment when the drummer’s intuitive cymbal splashes or drum colors aren’t on track as Malaby stretches stratospheric altissimo cries into slim variations which are finally reconstituted as a powerful narrative. Framing the journey, Parker’s thick stops eventually become supple, supportive strums. With this defining saxophone CD under his belt, it will be instructive to see how Malaby intersects with the local three-saxophones-three rhythm Kayos Theory sextet when he plays The Rex June 27 and 28.
http://www.jazzword.com/one-review/?id=128503