Saturday, May 02, 2009

Michael Blake and Kresten Osgood - Control This (Clean Feed, 2009)

Saxophonist Michael Blake and drummer Kresten Osgood have collaborated in projects and groups before, but this is their first duet album. The extra space available without a piano or guitar and bass really inspires them to investigate both free jazz and interesting melodies. "Salutations" introduces the album at a slow pace, with the musicians checking each other out and setting the stage for the rest of the album. Once they are warmed up, the title track follows with a very exciting performance and the two musicians are almost giddy with the possibilities. The possibilities are exciting indeed, like using some subtle overdubbing on the beautiful melody of Duke Ellington's classic "Creole Love Call" before moving on to a spontaneous and bracing improvisation. "Elephants are Afraid of Mice" is another rousing improvisation, their partnership is very productive, acting like dance partners on a skewed and ever changing dance floor. This alluring in-the-moment feel is also captured by "Cheryl" where Blake and Osgood move on pure instinct through a free jazz performance filled with impromptu spirit. A hidden track at the end of the album captures the to musicians convulsing in uncontrollable laughter, and this giddiness and bonhomie suffuses the entire album with devil may care excitement.
Control This -

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