Referencing the delicate artistic printing method, this nonet recording presented by Harris Eisenstadt on drums and compositions, Michael McGinnis on clarinet, Jason Mears on alto saxophone, Sara Schoenbeck on bassoon, Mark Taylor on french horn, Brian Drye on trombone, Jay Rozen on tuba, Jonathan Goldberger on electric guitar and Garth Stevenson on acoustic bass (with smaller groups frequently breaking out) is a model of artistic restraint. At times sounding like a post-modern version of the classic Miles Davis Birth of the Cool band, the music is very patient and thoughtful, and one could imagine the past masters of the art of woodblock printing nodding their heads in approval of the craft involved. "Hasui (for brass trio) opens the album with a muted call to arms, playing a beautiful and haunting melody. "The Floating World" has a spacious dreamlike appeal, with the leader's percussion light and agile. Following a meditative beginning, "After Jeff Wall" builds to a fleet and exciting collective improvisation which builds a fascinating sound texture of clarinet and bassoon rubbing up against french horn and trombone. This performance really takes on an artistic bent sounding like a sound collage with all of the artists adding ideas toward a common goal. Riffs and melodies bubble up and then pass on with muted dignity and compassion. "Hiroshige (for woodwind trio)" returns to the meditative sound on the trio, developing a spare motif prepared with gentle forethought developing and emotional and yearning sound. Taylor's french horn is the centerpiece of "Hokusai" developing a unique statement on an instrument rarely used in jazz, over subtle accompaniment, the music develops slowly, evolving an changing as the musicians develop the performance. The final track, "Andrew Hill" is dedicated to the great composer and pianist, beginning by developing a beautifully dignified and delicate melody. Mears gracefully develops an excellent solo against the backdrop of the horns. NoBusiness Records is based in Vlinius, Lithuania and they are becoming one of the most interesting labels on the current jazz scene, issuing progressive jazz from around the world and reissuing forgotten gems of improvisational music from the past. This thoughtful album is clearly a labor of love for all concerned, only 300 LP copies were produced, so if this appeals to you, don't wait. Woodblock Prints - NoBusiness Records
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Nick Fraser Quartet - Starer (s/r, 2016) ****
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