Thursday, November 09, 2017

Christoph Erb, Jim Baker & Frank Rosaly - ...Don't Buy Him a Parrot... (hatOLOGY, 2017)

It's hard to believe that this was only the second meeting of Christoph Erb on tenor saxophone and bass clarinet, Jim Baker on piano and Frank Rosaly on drums, but they just click like they have been playing together forever. This is a very well played album of modern jazz with the Swiss born Erb fitting in very well with the pianist and drummer, who are stalwarts on the fertile Chicago creative music scene. The album begins with "...Don't Buy Him a Parrot..."  which develops raw and visceral circular motifs of saxophone that are well met by the piano and drums, swirling and gaining strength, building to a kaleidoscopic improvisation that takes the brawny Windy City groove and splices in just enough European free improvisation to make for a healthy and vigorous performance. "Parrot, Figuring..." begins with a gentle and melodic opening statement, but becomes more abstract with spooky smears of reed noise and probing piano. With Rosaly's entrance the music tips the balance to a hard bitten collective improvisation. The music stretches and expands to meet the needs of the musicians and as the volume increases and the tempo gets faster and more intense, the nature of the trio's intuitive interplay adds strong robust character to the music. Low pitched reed with piano slowly gains momentum on "For Canaries, Career Opportunities in the Mining Industry" as the percussion enters leveraging the excellent and thoughtfully played narrative improvisation with guttural whinnying saxophone and bright piano chords soaring over the wonderful drumming. The final track "It Isn't Hard to Follow a Man Who Carries a Bird Cage With Him Wherever He Goes " develops slow from loose pops and crackles of puckered sounds and abstract reeds, fractured piano and drums. Erb builds bird like trills and calls, moving into a sizzling sound as the trio begins to pull together, devoted to the act of spontaneous creation in their collective improvisation. This was a very well played album, potent modern jazz played with wit and energy that was inspired by technological innovator and gadfly Richard Stollman whose insistence on on radical freedom flows through this music. Don't Buy Him a Parrot - amazon.com

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