Friday, July 03, 2009

David Crowell Ensemble - Spectrum (Innova, 2009)

Playing modern classical music with the likes of Philip Glass and Steve Reich has given saxophonist and composer David Crowell a unique perspective on jazz and improvisational music. Combining improvised jazz and classical structure, Crowell is supported on this album by Red Wierenga on electric piano, Grey McMurray on guitar, Mike Chiavaro on bass, and Jason Nazary on drums. The two part "Nectar of Life" was the highpoint of the album for me and the jazziest tracks on the album with Crowell's saxophone weaving through some explosive drumming and propulsive guitar and bass work. "Long Goodbye" and "Great Wide Open" draw on the leader's avant classical experience to create some interesting slower paced soundscapes for repetitive electric guitar and fender rhodes electric piano. "Looking Deeply" ends the album with a tight collective free improvisation with all the band members working together toward a common goal. I thought this was an interesting LP, I'm not really familiar with modern classical music, but Crowell's group was not overly obtuse or complicated. In fact, the music was quite colorful with the electric piano and electric guitar providing a number of different shadings for the music that kept it fresh and interesting.
Spectrum (mp3 version) -

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