Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Jason Robinson - Tiresian Symmetry (Cuneiform, 2012)

Saxophonist and composer Jason Robinson approached this project by thinking about ancient Greek myths and the music of Henry Threadgill. It made for some pretty potent inspiration, because the nine piece band he put together for this album is volatile and exciting throughout. Drummers George Schuller and Ches Smith, bassist Drew Gress, tuba player Marcus Rojas, Bill Lowe on tuba and bass trombone, JD Parran and Marty Ehrlich on saxophones and clarinet and guitarist Liberty Ellman make up the group while Robinson leads on flute and saxophones. “Stratum 3” opens the album with drumming and tuba creating a nice foundation before a exciting and intense tenor saxophone solo is followed by smears of tuba, both of which are excellently supported by the tandem drummers. The full band develops a mysterious sound on “Tiresian Symmetry” with saxes bubbling and boiling, and the music home to many detailed nuances. After a bass solo, one of the saxophonists leads the music back up with shades of guitar adding texture to the intensifying music. ‘Radiate” has the unusual pairing of tuba with squiggles of saxophone, which are drawn together and propelled forward by the drummers, culminating in a wild full band collective improvisation. “Elbow Grease (Introduction)” and “Elbow Grease” have a raw saxophone opening rolling into the full band's entry led by tenor saxophone playing loud and true. Swirling and wailing this becomes a visceral experience as the musicians reach deep for their best efforts. Tiresian Symmetry -

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