Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Boneshaker - Boneshaker (Trost, 2012)

This was a very exciting and much welcome blast of old school free jazz energy from a collective group featuring Mars Williams on saxophones, Kent Kessler on bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums. Each has deep experience on the outer fringes of the jazz scene and they make for a very cohesive and potent unit. "What Doesn't Kill You" is the opening track and it is aptly named because it is strong medicine indeed. Williams blows great guttural blasts with utter command and integrity, while Kessler and Nilssen-Love respond in kind. This is raw and bracing free music, caustic and carrying a buzz of excitement throughout. "Beauty of Sadness" opens with stoic bowed bass as the saxophonist and percussionist fill in slowly in what becomes a quieter, patient exploration of the sonic landscape. Williams switches to soprano saxophone on "Sticky Wicket" swirling and swooping around bowed bass and agile drumming. The music gradually ramps up, gathering more and more power and moving with a nimble grace that belies the amount of energy available. Everything comes to a head on the epic blowout "Hostilities In Progress" which comes out fighting from the get-go with Williams tenor saxophone scorching the earth amid fusillades of bass and drums. The music is very aggressive and thrilling with the amount of pure raw energy being expended bulldozing everything in its path. It's not wanton destruction though, the musicians are too skilled and wily for that. Developing this lengthly collective improvisation through dynamics, they are able to harness power that takes them through to near the end where they pull back on the reigns for a deceptively quiet conclusion. Boneshaker - amazon.com

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