Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bobby Avey - Inhuman Wilderness (Inner Voice Jazz, 2016)

Following the fascinating ode to Haitian music on his previous album, pianist Bobby Avey enlists John O’Gallagher on alto saxophone, Thomson Kneeland on bass and Jordan Perlson on drums for a thoughtful and well articulated album of fresh modern jazz. “Countless Voices of Unknown People” opens as a funky march with interesting drums and droplets of poised piano developing a sad theme, which is juxtaposed against the active drumming. The piano, bass and drums trio blasts off with emotionally percussive piano chords, fast nervous bass and rhythmic drums making for great interplay that is hard hitting and very exciting. Saxophone and drums are tight and exploratory on “Fall not a Tear” which has a full bodied and slamming rhythm, making for a quartet improvisation that is fast, loud and very exciting. The mid-section has a piano and subtle saxophone duet, then great up-tempo full band improvisation that is very rhythmic and exciting. The group uses dynamics brilliantly, moving into a quiet piano, bass and drums section that builds back up fantastic ending. The short pieces “Inhuman Wilderness,” “Structural Adjustment,” and “Land Theft” were designed as a suite lamenting the tragic state of the human species. Starting with open brushes, beads of piano and very light saxophone, the music becomes mysterious and subtle. Then thick bass, probing drums and nervous piano develop a mid-tempo skittering fast percussive section with wicked fast piano and finally dark bass, bass and drums thrashing epic drumming making for a fantastic ride. “I Should Have Known No Less” starts with a quiet dawning of droplets of piano notes and chords, very open bowed bass, and gradual entry of the saxophone. The pace of the music picks up with sharper drumming and deeper dynamics allowing for an uncluttered section with very nice plucked bass and O’Gallagher’s pungent alto saxophone tone playing well and making for a fascinating quartet improvisation, building faster and deeper, and very impressive. A slashing piano trio section before the saxophone returns, and the music gains strength and moves deeper. Avey builds an ominous solo piano excursion on “Rent the Sky” which is dark and moody and a very interesting soundscape. “Composure Must Be Rare” is a glorious finale with crushing drums and full bodied piano enthusiasm, an interesting drum and bass rhythm, which builds faster and faster, setting up a killer collective improvisation, with raw saxophone, deep heavy piano chords and soaring bass and drums. This was an excellent album of original modern jazz. Avey’s compositions and arrangements are consistently fascinating and the quality of the playing by each member of the band is at a rarefied level. Inhuman Wilderness -

Send comments to Tim.