Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Jon Irabagon and Mike Pride - I Don't hear Nothin' But the Blues (Loyal, 2009)

This is a very interesting tenor saxophone and drums collaboration that skirts the boundary of form, freedom and space. Some commentators seem willing to compare this album to the John Coltrane - Rashied Ali collaboration Interstellar Space, but I think a more apt comparison is the searing live performance from Coltrane's Live at the Village Vanguard LP, "Chasin' The Train." In that legendary performance, Coltrane and Elvin Jones broke free from the bonds of bebop, and pared everything down to the bare minimum to create one of the most explosive performances in jazz history. While tenor saxophonist Jon Irabagon (of the excellent Philadelphia band Mostly Other People Do The Killing) and drummer Mike Pride aren't able to match that awesome level of that classic, they do sustain their improvisation for an LP length 48 minutes, and keep the music interesting and exciting throughout. While the music certainly draws much of its power from the deep blues, an endless wellspring of musical inspiration, there is also a vein of DIY punk running through it which keeps the music from getting too self centered and serious. Irabagon, winner of the Thelonious Monk Competition for tenor saxophone has an appealingly deep and brawny tone, perfect for digging into the blues. Pride is a storming drummer driving and pushing the music in to interesting terrain. I liked this album a lot, it was fun to hear a couple of musicians just go hell for leather as long as they could. The music was visceral, exciting and unexpected album that was quite edgy and full of surprises.
I Don't Hear Nothin' but the Blues - amazon.com

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