Chris Kelsey's energetic and exciting album recalls the heady days of free jazz and is reminisicent of the open ended music that Ornette Coleman recorded for Atlantic Records in the late 50's and early 60's. Kelsey plays alto, tenor and soprano saxophones and is joined by Chris Dimeglio on trumpet, Francois Grillot on bass and Jay Rosen on drums. With a sub-title as provocative as "the opposite of Paul Desmond" you might think that this is a pedal to the metal blast fest, and while much of the music is fast and furious, it is very well thought out and the improvisations are exciting. "Femulate the State" has a fast Ornette-ish opening, with squalls of saxophone and drums. Kelsey's saxophone is fast and furious but still well in control. A fast, free full band improvisation leads to a bass solo that is like the eye of a hurricane. "Raw Sun" has a full band choppy improvisation, with the trumpet probing medium fast. Smears of trumpet and saxophone lead into open space, with Rosen's drums filling fast and nimble. The full quartet comes in fast and loose on "If Jazz is Dead (Can I Have Its Stuff?)" with saxophone and trumpet strutting grandly and making for a fast, free and exciting performance. "Sameness Is Way Better Than Differentness!" features Kelsey's swirling saxophone and some exciting open trumpet moving through an extended improvisation. This was an exciting and interesting album that should appeal to listeners interested in open ended free jazz. The band walks on a musical high-wire but the risks are well rewarded with exciting and thought-provoking music. Not Cool - amazon.com
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Ron Stabinsky - Free For One (HotCup, 2016) ****
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