Tuesday, December 20, 2011

William Hooker Trio - Yearn for Certainty (Engine Records, 2010)

Recorded at the Roulette Club in New York City during 2007, this is a continuously improvised performance led by drummer and poet William Hooker, accompanied by Sabir Mateen on saxophone, flute and clarinet and David Soldier on mandolin, banjo and violin. “Integrated Beam - Leroy” and “Century’s Soles” speak truth to power with a powerful spoken word recitation with string accompaniment that develops into an instrumental gateway. The music itself lifts off with the extraordinary free jazz blowout “Commonplace Travel.” Wildly swirling collective improvisation, with no holds barred, this is the trio at the peak of the vortex. “Magistrait” builds slowly with shimmering cymbals and violin drone setting up long tones of saxophone. Hooker develops his own solo, with a light touch, moving the music from a spare and lonely feel to a faster pace, gradually ramping feverishly into free territory. Hooker wills the band forward with passionate drums and vocal encouragement. The finale, “Yearn for Certainty” segues directly from the previous improvisation, led by overdriven guitar and drums. Soldier is featured here, moving through his instruments with a variety of sounds and textures. Thrashing drums and peaking saxophone make for a wildly exciting improvisation before rolling back to droning guitar and probing saxophone. Bashing drumbeats change the theme of the music, contrasting thunderous percussion against silence. Mateen switches to flute for a mysterious interlude, while Hooker develops another spoken incantation accompanied by flute and guitar. Loud drumming and saxophones then return to set up the big finale. The three musicians form a tightly coherent unit that allows for a great deal of collective expression and a colorful palette of sounds. Yearn for Certainty - amazon.com

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