Bobby Bradford, Hafez Modirzadeh, Mark Dresser, Alex Cline – Live at the Open Gate (No Business, 2016)
This is a very impressive collective group consisting of Bobby Bradford on cornet, Hafez Modirzadeh on alto saxophone, Mark Dresser on bass and Alex Cline on drums. The album was recorded live on March 3, 2013 in Los Angeles as part of the Open Gate Theatre concert series. “Steadfast” begins the album with gentle bass and brushes. The brass enters slowly with a rending sound over skittering percussion, and they develop a longing and intensely personal sound as they gaze across the musical landscape. The horns climb in intensity, and intertwine in great control of their sound. There is a stronger sound to “Facet 5” with the saxophone and cornet taking a raw angle over the nimble bass and drums. There is a nice section of collective improvisation with the two horns weaving into the rhythm, and the louder and richer sound suits them well. “Facet 17” opens with a fast and choppy feel to it, with Modirzadeh improvising with the bass and drums, developing a solid Ornette Coleman type feel. Bradford’s cornet bursts in and plays very well, adding fine contrast to the deep blue tone of the alto saxophone. Bradford takes command with an excellent solo statement of his own, finally aided by swirling saxophone over delicate percussion. “Dresser Only” is a feature for the bassist, who plays an open, thick and resonating solo. His instrument is very well recorded, making this one of the most intimate moments of the album. The full band returns with a collective improvisation on “For Bradford,” with a clarion call of cornet leading the way. Subtle bass and drums keep the pace steady as there is a handoff to the saxophone which is featured over fast tapping percussion. Modirzadeh makes a powerful solo statement on saxophone before everyone returns and and ends this excellent performance as a team. “HA^BB” is a short interlude for scatted vocals and horns improvising in open space. Horns swirl around one another on “Song for the Unsung” playing patiently and developing themes. Well thought out ripe saxophone and strong cornet lead the charge, over very good rhythm accompaniment with siren like saxophone met with slender ribbons of bass. “Reprise” concludes the album with low toned cornet and saxophone keeping a loose feel, pushing the air about them while shimmering cymbals frame the horns. Live at the Open Gate - No Business Records.