Thursday, June 13, 2013

Blue Cranes - Swim (Cuneiform, 2013)

Blue Cranes, from Portland, Oregon, are an interesting band that combines modern jazz with elements of indie rock to forge a unique sound. Consisting of Reed Wallsmith on alto saxophone, Joe Cunningham on tenor saxophone, Rebecca Sanborn on keyboards, Keith Brush on bass and Ji Tanzer on drums. “Beautiful Winners” opens the album with some dirty sounding electric piano and harmonized horns giving the music a full feel. Strong drums and piano build to a frenzy and then stop abruptly. There is a heavy slow and ponderous beginning to “Everything Is Going To Be Okay” with the horns piling together over dark piano. Horns and bass break out of the torpor with a saxophone solo that builds energy as it stretches. “Cass Corridor” has a throbbing undercurrent with saxophones soaring overhead, developing an ominous feel accented by electronic smears of keyboard. Slow and quiet bowed bass opens “Polarnatt” with slow and low toned saxophone letting out as the piano, bass and drums play an interlude akin to The Bad Plus before the saxophones move back for a deep and strong full band improvisation. “Great Dane Small Horse” has bowed bass and and low toned saxophone harmonize into a hard gutsy feel, developing a dense and claustrophobic improvisation. “Painted Birds” features electric piano, drums and saxophone developing an upbeat and genial conception. Pastel hued piano and breathy saxophone carry things through to an amicable conclusion. The bonus track “Corporal’s Lament” is pleasingly experimental with accordion like keyboards messing with processed saxophone and smears of electronics developing an exciting prog-rock feel. Swim -

Send comments to Tim.