Monday, January 18, 2010

Samuel Blaser Quartet - Pieces of Old Sky (Clean Feed, 2009)

It's interesting when an album so reflects in music the cover, belying the old adage that you can't judge something by its cover and that album art is dead in the age of digital media. The stark and beautiful photography on trombonist Samuel Blaser's album features a yellowing sky that signals either an approaching storm or a retreating one. The music on this album is analogous to these images, very open and spacious with smears of trombone and scattered percussion drifting into abstraction and then when you least expect it returning to melody. Blaser is joined on this album by guitarist Todd Neufeld, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Tyshawn Sorey. Moody and atmospheric sonic colors and textures play a critical role on the epic title track, which moves through sections of slow and patient improvisation. Sorey is the perfect accompanist for this album, as he has shown in his own work as a leader, he is comfortable letting the music breathe at slow tempos. It would be interesting to hear this band compose for cinema or as part of an art exhibit, the colors that they conceive with their music would blend well with art or film. Pieces of Old Sky - amazon.com

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